FLINT, Michigan — If Sen. Cory Booker wants to be president, he’s going to have to convince white voters that talking about slavery reparations is a good idea.
On the trail, Booker’s stump speech is persistently optimistic. The New Jersey Democrat constantly points to his track record as mayor of Newark, and his willingness to work with politicians on the other side of the aisle.
But he isn’t just selling a dream. He’s asking voters to face the fact that America is still unequal, particularly when it comes to race — and he’s pushing some pretty bold proposals aimed at addressing racial that inequality.
One idea is a baby bond program that would allot money to kids according to their household income. On average, black and brown families would receive more than white ones. He’s also sponsored a bill on reparations.
All of this should be translating into a lot of attention. But in a field full of Democrats who are openly talking about racial discrimination, he’s only polling at 2%.
VICE News followed Cory Booker as he traveled from Detroit to Iowa, to see how his stump speech changed according to the audience.