Booker for Senate ... with reservations


Candidates hold polarizing views, middle ground needed for balance


Election Day is upon us, with Democratic incumbent and the junior United States Sen. Cory Booker running for a six-year term against Republican Jeff Bell. Booker is already a household name around here since he won the special elections last year to replace Sen. Frank Lautenberg’s seat, and with his charismatic personality and energy, he is already a popular choice.

Booker has the advantages of name recognition, incumbency and a platform that is already popular in New Jersey, but that doesn’t mean this should be an easy win for him. There was only one debate between Bell and Booker during this campaign, and it was enough to illustrate the complete polarization between the two candidates.

They are essentially polar opposites: Their views on issues such as abortion, gay marriage and fiscal matters are in line with what you would expect from a liberal Democrat and a conservative Republican, respectively. In a left-leaning state like New Jersey, Booker is the more likely choice. This is not to say he is necessarily the best fit, but in a system that essentially pits two candidates against each other, voting becomes less of a confident decision and more a choice of the lesser of the evils.

We really need a middle ground for more balance. Bell claims Booker will not bring anything new to the table since he supports the arguably failing Obama administration. Booker claims Bell doesn’t support the bipartisanship we need to see in Congress if we are to make any progress at all. The problem seems to lie in the primary process, which basically forces candidates to adopt a platform that appeals entirely to their respective political parties to gain the most support. 

Booker’s views on social issues might appeal more to most New Jerseyans, but how effective is he in office? He seems to play off very idealistic ideas, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that they all come to fruition.

Booker might be ahead in the polls, but not by a huge margin. It’s assumed that a liberal candidate as popular as Booker will automatically win in New Jersey elections, but that shouldn’t be the case. We support Booker in these elections, but if he wins, we want to see him come up with realistic plans and policy ideas for the state. 

Keep in mind that exercising your right to vote involves making an educated and informed decision and continuing to be civically involved by keeping your elected officials accountable. Whatever the outcome of this election, stay involved to hold your representatives to their words. Polling locations will be open between 6 a.m. and 8 p.m. today. You must vote at the specific polling location that is designated to the home address you listed when you registered. If you are unsure of where your location is, visit njelections.org to find out. You can also check out the website for the Rutgers Eagleton Institute of Politics’ Youth Political Participation online for more details on where and how to vote, what to bring and other general voter information. While you don’t need to show ID if you already used it to register, it’s stills a good idea to have it on you just in case. Happy voting!


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