Breaking: Booker drops out of presidential race

Guess who just cleared his schedule for Donald Trump’s Senate trial? After missing the cut in tomorrow’s debate and likely any others in the future, Cory Booker announced an end to his presidential campaign. “I’m so proud of what we’ve built,” Booker told his supporters, while vowing to fight on … but not as a contender for the nomination:

CNN notes that the Democratic presidential field just got a little more monochromatic:

The New Jersey Democrat’s announcement came a day before six presidential candidates will participate in the CNN/Des Moines Register’s debate in Des Moines, Iowa. He did not qualify for the event. It also came as the Senate gears up for the impeachment trial of President Donald Trump.

“Our campaign has reached the point where we need more money to scale up and continue building a campaign that can win — money we don’t have, and money that is harder to raise because I won’t be on the next debate stage and because the urgent business of impeachment will rightly be keeping me in Washington,” Booker wrote.

His announcement marks another departure of a high-profile black candidate from the 2020 race. After not making the December debate, Booker criticized the rules that kept him from qualifying for the event and was outspoken about the growing lack of diversity on stage.

The other “departure of a high-profile black candidate” was Kamala Harris at the beginning of December. Both Booker and Harris have high national profiles because of their status as US Senators, but Harris’ collapse was a lot more surprising. Booker didn’t have much going for him other than his Spartacus antics, but all Harris had to do was remain competitive until the California primary. Instead, she turned out to be a historically bad candidate, having no answer for pointed attacks by Tulsi Gabbard and offering near-total incoherence on policies such as health care and busing. Booker performed better as a candidate but also didn’t offer any particular reason for his nomination in comparison to the avalanche of progressives in the primary.

Well, other than one, that is. Both Harris and Booker at different times accused voters of being a little racist by not supporting their candidacies. That seemed like a strange argument even at the time, considering that the voters in question were those participating in Democratic primaries and caucuses. In retrospect, it not only looks strange, it looks positively disastrous.

Nevertheless, since Booker in particular has made an issue of “diversity” on the debate stage, we can expect the media to make an issue of it too. Even just this morning, both Tulsi Gabbard and Amy Klobuchar are keeping this trope alive. The only candidate of color that might get on the debate stage now is Andrew Yang, who didn’t qualify as “diversity” when Booker complained about it. And that’s becoming a long shot even while billionaires are succeeding into buying their way onto the debate stage. It looks like identity politics aren’t the big winner that some Democrats thought it would be this cycle.

So what’s next for Spartacus? His statement references the need to prepare for the Senate trial as one reason for his decision. Expect Booker to grandstand just as he did in the Brett Kavanaugh hearings in preparation for another run at the nomination in 2024 or 2028.