There are some valid reasons to be wary of Cory Booker but, if I’m being honest, he’s probably my second choice among presumptive 2020 candidates who are actually likely to run, after Kirsten Gillibrand. I don’t think either Elizabeth Warren or Sherrod Brown will actually go for it, and while Bernie Sanders might, there’s the age issue and the reality that he has a hard time reaching beyond his base. Booker has been close to finance and has had some ideological issues before holding national office (where he’s been quite good), but the best reason to support him is that he has charisma. My greatest fear is that Democrats will decide they need a nominee to contrast with Trump, i.e. a “grown-up” who offends nobody and seems qualified and sober, but who doesn’t excite anybody or have any gift for narrative or storytelling. John Kerry redux. After all, that’s what focus groups always say they want! But there are countries with sober, boring politics, and America is not one of them. If we truly did want Norway’s politics, we would have them. But if you look at the last forty years’ worth of presidents the only one who was like this at all was George H.W. Bush, who only lasted one term. Having someone with a dash of the dramatic sure seems like a better choice than a white person who has a Deep Command of Policy but doesn’t connect.

Ultimately, if it’s Trump versus, say, Amy Klobuchar, I’m not sure how 2020 again isn’t The Trump Show. Booker is clearly someone who can demand attention. Admittedly, Trump may be so radioactive that anybody can win, or he may punk out and not run in 2020 (you laugh but how many times did he do this in business and leave shareholders holding the bag?), so it wouldn’t matter. But the best weapon against a celebrity is almost certainly another celebrity.

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