Cory Booker seemed like he would hit all the right notes for Democratic voters. He’s African American, a huge plus for those who longed for the days of Barack Obama. And a huge plus for some of those Lefties (and yes, there are plenty) who would elect a guy just based on his skin color. He was eloquent and smooth—something those who are impressed by stuff like that really love. And with his party-line policies, he was practically central casting for the perfect democratic presidential candidate.

So what went wrong? A guy who campaigns for wacky ideas like $1,000 savings account for every US child born in order to close the wealth gap, and a ridiculously draconian gun licensing plan should’ve really resonated with the Dems. Here’s the problem: Cory Booker didn’t hate Donald Trump enough. Unlike pretty much all the other candidates who were obsessed with Trump, mentioning him in every speech and using their hatred of and ability to beat him as their only campaign strategy, Booker played it cool.

It’s not that he never trashed Trump, but he generally only did it as a response to Trump’s picking on him. Booker presented himself as an all-around good guy, with an uplifting message; the kind of guy who could reach across the aisle and work with the Republicans if he needed to. It certainly worked for Obama. But that’s a message and a strategy that doesn’t work In 2020. Because guess who’s on the other side of that aisle? Donald Trump!!!!

It’s “I am the opposite of Trump in every way!! I hate him just as much as you do!!! here’s how he’s ruining our country and how I’ll fix it!!!” That was the only rallying cry that would be heard on this campaign trail. And Cory didn’t do enough of it. When he finally realized that he wasn’t gaining traction and thus didn’t qualify for the next debate, he announced that he didn’t see a “path to victory.”

If he had to do it over again, he’d need to realize that that particular path needs to be paved with much more anti-Trump rhetoric. Maybe next time, Cory.

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