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Sen. Cory Booker to Democrats at Cantwell rally: Stand up to adversity

TACOMA – Sen. Cory Booker, D-N.J., a possible presidential candidate in 2020, speaks to a gathering of Democrats on Aug. 26, 2018, at a fundraiser for Sen. Maria Cantwell, who is running for re-election this year in Washington. (Jim Camden / The Spokesman-Review)

TACOMA – A New Jersey senator who may be on the short list for a run for president in two years told Democrats hoping to retake Congress to “awaken a force of love in America.”

Cory Booker, the headliner at a campaign event for Sen. Maria Cantwell at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center Sunday evening, urged more that 500 people to work hard in the remaining 72 days until November’s mid-term election.

Like other Democrats who preceded him to the microphone, Booker criticized some of the policies of Republican President Donald Trump and his administration. But he told Democrats to stand up to adversity in what he called “a moral moment” in the nation, and lift others up with them.

“America is great because America is good,” he said. “Don’t let folks divide you. There is no us and them in America. This is not a left or right moment in America. This is a right or wrong moment.”

The former mayor of Newark said he and Cantwell share the fight for more affordable housing, and described Washington’s junior senator as someone who fights “when the doors are closed and there are no cameras there.”

Cantwell, who faces former state Republican Party Chairwoman Susan Hutchison in November, said the country must go forward with innovative ideas.

“Never have we made our country great by going back,” she said. “I’d rather reach for the stars than build that wall.”

Other candidates and elected officials who spoke before Booker talked about a “blue wave” or a “blue wall” against the administration.

“We aren’t putting up with corruption,” U.S. Rep. Denny Heck, D-Wash., said. “Americans want something different and better.”

But Booker, who was making several West Coast appearances this weekend, warned about being complacent in a mid-term election. The lines at his polling place in Newark were out the door and down the block in 2008 to vote for president, he recalled. The next year, there was no line and he was alone in the polling station when he went to vote, even though the state had a gubernatorial election. And the Democrat incumbent lost by less than 100,000 votes.

“The opposite of justice is not injustice,” he said. “It’s inactivity. It’s apathy.”