Democratic presidential candidate and U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) brought his campaign to Oklahoma on Thursday, visiting Tulsa and then Norman where he held a rally to discuss America’s criminal justice system, domestic terrorism and hate crimes.
Booker made his Norman appearance at a block party held outside of Volare on Campus Corner early Thursday evening, telling the crowd that “injustice anywhere is a threat to justice anywhere.”
Norman Mayor Brea Clark, who introduced Booker, said it is important for candidates to visit places like Norman because “all politics is local politics,” she said to the crowd.
“This campaign has so many critical issues underlying our ability to create real transformation in our nation and our ability to begin to heal,” Booker said.
Booker made acknowledgements to the civil rights movement as well as women’s suffrage nearly 100 years ago.
“I’m not one of these guys who doesn’t believe in fighting,” Booker said.
When it came to talking about current U.S. President Donald Trump, Booker made sure the Norman crowd knew he is not going to fight the way Trump does.
“If Donald Trump want to fight on his terms, on his tactics, that’s how he wins,” Booker said. “We don’t win and elevate our country by showing the worst of who we are, but the best of who we are.”
Yet Booker also said the thing that frustrates him most is when Democrats say, “We just need someone who can beat Donald Trump.”
“Beating Donald Trump is the floor, it is not the ceiling,” Booker said. “Beating Donald Trump gets us out of the valley, but it doesn’t get us to the mountain top.”
Cory Booker: ‘We are one nation’
Before visiting Norman, Booker made his first Oklahoma stop in the Greenwood area of Tulsa, where the 1921 Race Massacre destroyed a thriving black community.
“The incredible community around what was once known as Black Wall Street spoke a history that I thought I know, but I didn’t know the depth and the degree of the horrors that went on there,” he said.
Booker told reporters after the rally that there are many activists in Norman and the rest of the state who have the same mission as his campaign: “To heal and to tell truths about the injustices in our country and find ways to bring this nation together.”
Asked why he visited Oklahoma owing to its general election status as a “red state,” Booker said he would be seen across the country in both the primary and general elections.
“I think that this red-state, blue-state thing is getting kind of ridiculous,” Booker said. “We are one nation.”
Booker said Oklahoma is important to him and that he would do everything he can to talk about the issues the state is facing.
“The fact that this state hasn’t expanded Medicaid is outrageous and costing lives and well beings here in this state,” Booker told reporters.
When it comes to why Oklahomans should vote for Booker, he said he is still learning about the state and that the visit has helped him.
“Oklahomans are good folk.” Booker said. “[Oklahoma] in many ways reflects this nation. I just want Oklahomans to know to go to my website, find out about my policy positions. I’m not going to ignore this state.”
Heckler distracts from Cory Booker rally
Close to the start of Booker’s speech, a man standing beyond the crowd began to “boo” at the former Newark, New Jersey, mayor. The disruption turned heads and resulted in a confrontation:
O’Rourke visited Tulsa, Norman earlier in August
Booker was not the first democratic presidential candidate to visit Norman this summer. Former Texas Rep. Beto O’Rourke made a Campus Corner trip earlier in August to Volare, holding a rally of his own.
He also visited Tulsa: