Booker repels fears of Biden trailing Trump, says abortion rights key

Recent polls and a young voter base rankled by the humanitarian crisis in Gaza show President Joe Biden’s path to re-election will be anything less than an uphill climb.

But New Jersey Sen. Cory Booker, who was headlining a healthcare panel in Spartanburg Saturday, said he was confident Democrats will ultimately rekindle the frayed relationship between voters and the party by highlighting the potential extremities of a second Trump presidency.

He began by saying Democrats performed better on issues like student debt and climate change that mattered to younger voters.

“There’s no competition between the two parties,” Booker, part of the Biden-Harris advisory group for the 2024 elections, said in a one-on-one conversation with the Greenville News. “We have existential challenges right now—from a woman’s ability to control their own bodies to the future challenges with a planet in peril. So I’m really confident that the Democratic Party has a case to make not just for our president as an individual, but the party as a whole.”

Booker’s appearance in South Carolina came days after the New Hampshire Democratic Party decided to go against the Democratic National Convention’s decision to have South Carolina host the First-in-the-Nation primary and set their own primary for Jan. 23, 2024. Biden will also not appear on New Hampshire’s primary ballot. “South Carolina had a very powerful claim. It’s such a diverse state. It’s a state that has for a long time, shown the ability to pick presidential candidates,” Booker said while weighing in on the conflict.

The party messaging in the midst of infighting will also be critical for Democrats as a recent New York Times/Siena College poll showed former President Donald Trump led Biden in five of six key swing states. The survey also showed a decline in Biden’s popularity among voters under 30— a key voting bloc that aided his victory in the 2020 presidential elections.

David Axelrod, a former Obama official, went as far as saying Biden should reconsider his campaign and drop out.Meanwhile, protests across public forums and college campuses, have been critical of Biden’s foreign policy and the response to Israel’s retaliatory attacks in Gaza.

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A protest also touched Booker’s public appearance in New Jersey last week when a group of protestors demanding a ceasefire disrupted Booker’s speech. Some Arab Americans have vowed not to support Biden in his candidacy next year.

Still, whenever Democrats have targeted specific issues such as abortion rights in off-year statewide and local races, they’ve managed to flip the script. In last week’s elections across the U.S., Democrats won critical victories in Kentucky, Ohio and Virginia after centering their campaign on a potential ban on abortion access.

The majority of Americans, 62%, want abortion access to remain legal in all or most cases, a 2022 Pew Research report showed. “State by state when abortion is on the ballot— red, blue, purple states — people vote for what they want.”

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