Sunday, May 13, 2012

Corey Booker: Black politics, reinvented

Cory Booker’s failed 2002 campaign for mayor of Newark heralded a new type of black politician. Booker was an outsider with Ivy-league credentials who was trying to unseat a veteran urban politician who had made a name for himself during the civil rights movement. 

Like other “new black politicians,” Booker’s appeal granted him entry to the political world and helped him circumvent long-standing black democratic machines. But what does this process, which has been repeated everywhere from Washington to Alabama, tell us about our country’s changing attitude towards race — and politics?
In her new book, “The New Black Politician,” Andra Gillespie follows the career of Cory Booker, from his start as a lawyer and community organizer through his successful run for mayor and his reelection, in order to illustrate what separates the new generation of black politicians from other black leaders before them. These new black politicians seek to create the same multicultural coalition that propelled Barack Obama to the presidency, but many lose their black support and fade from the political scene.
Salon spoke with Gillespie about racial electability, Cory Booker’s senate prospects, and what black politicians have in common with Will Smith and Tyler Perry. Read more

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