Booker: Diversity, perception of fairness 'critically important' for Democrats in 2020 race

Booker: Diversity, perception of fairness 'critically important' for Democrats in 2020 race
© Greg Nash

Sen. Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerPatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Booker ahead of Trump impeachment trial: 'History has its eyes on us' Sunday shows preview: Lawmakers gear up for Senate impeachment trial MORE (D-N.J.) said hours after suspending his presidential campaign that diversity and the perception of fairness will be “critically important” for Democrats running in the 2020 primary now that the only top contenders remaining are white. 

“Well, I want to remind — and you know this — that we are a party that will succeed by not how much we can put down the people who aren't voting for us but how much we can inspire the people that will — want to vote for us but often don’t come out,” Booker told MSNBC's Rachel MaddowRachel Anne MaddowCitizens United put out a welcome mat for Lev Parnas and Igor Fruman Giuliani says he was 'misled' by Parnas Parnas attorney asks William Barr to recuse himself from investigation MORE late Monday. “And the short way of saying that is, African American voters alone, if the same amount who voted in 2016 that voted in 2012, it would be President Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonThe Hill's Morning Report - Trump trial begins with clashes, concessions Trump on Clinton's Sanders comments: 'She's the one that people don't like' Hillary Clinton tears open wound with her attack on Sanders MORE right now.”

He added that not having an African American candidate who “can speak to that lived experience, that can inspire that populace could end up being a disaster for us.”

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“So, whoever it is, diversity is critically important, and a perception of fairness,” Booker said.

Booker also pointed to his Senate colleague, Sen. Kamala HarrisKamala Devi HarrisRep. Bobby Rush endorses Bloomberg's White House bid Actor Michael Douglas endorses Bloomberg for president Democrats: McConnell impeachment trial rules a 'cover-up,' 'national disgrace' MORE (D-Calif.) who ended her own Democratic presidential bid in December over a lack of financial resources. 

“I remember when Kamala Harris dropped out, women in my life were telling me how much they felt offended that someone with such a record that she had couldn't make it to Iowa because at the end of the day, she ran out of money,” Booker said. “So, this is something we have to understand, that we have to inspire record black and brown turnouts.”

The New Jersey Democrat said he will do whatever he can to support the eventual nominee, but will turn his own campaign efforts toward running for reelection in the Senate.

“I’m going to be doing everything I can for people all over this country, because I will run myself ragged because we have to get everyone out,” Booker said. “This is not about those 60 million Americans that voted for Donald TrumpDonald John TrumpRouhani says Iran will never seek nuclear weapons Trump downplays seriousness of injuries in Iran attack after US soldiers treated for concussions Trump says Bloomberg is 'wasting his money' on 2020 campaign MORE. This is about the tens of millions of Americans who didn't vote at all who would be with us if we could just inspire them to the polls.”

Booker’s decision to end his presidential campaign means that there is only one African American left in the race, former Massachusetts Gov. Deval PatrickDeval PatrickPatrick backs reparations in unveiling 'Equity Agenda for Black Americans' Buttigieg to attend MLK Day event in South Carolina after facing criticism Deval Patrick knocks lack of diversity in Democratic debate MORE, who is considered a long shot for the Democratic nomination.

Andrew YangAndrew YangSanders joins Biden atop 2020 Democratic field: poll Sanders holds four-point lead on Biden in new California poll Yang highlights outsider status in Iowa ad ahead of caucuses MORE, a tech businessman running for the Democratic nomination, was the only candidate of color to appear onstage during December’s debate but has not qualified for Tuesday’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa, which features a lineup of white candidates.