RadioOnFire.com – Drawing on themes from the Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s “Letter From a Birmingham Jail,” Senator Cory Booker pitched his campaign for president in newly urgent terms on Saturday, declaring that “we are here today to say we can’t wait” as he laid out his vision for addressing the economic and social ills of the country. In what was billed as the major hometown rally kicking off his campaign, Mr. Booker spoke to a late-arriving but enthusiastic crowd at Military Park, a revitalized green oasis in a city that was once a symbol of urban despair but has credible claims of an economic and cultural resurgence.
Mr. Booker combined his familiar themes of unity with specific policies to close the racial wealth gap, repair what he considers a broken criminal justice system and set the country on a path to be a leader in climate change. “We can’t wait when powerful forces are turning their prejudice into policy and rolling back the rights that generations of Americans fought for and heroes died for,” Mr. Booker said. “We can’t wait when this administration is throwing children fleeing violence into cages, banning Muslims from entering the nation founded on religious liberty, and preventing brave transgender Americans from serving the country they love.” The event also marked a kind of apex of Mr. Booker’s focus on Newark, a city he mentions more often on the campaign trail than his own name, hoping that the city’s rocky yet resilient rise can help propel him to the top of a crowded Democratic field for the 2020 election.