New Jersey Senator Cory Booker has the potential to win the Democrat Party's nomination for President in 2020. His experience as a mayor is the key for him.

Among the dozens of candidates now seeking the opportunity to be the Democrat candidate to take on President Trump, a few stand out. The big names currently are Sen. Elizabeth Warren, Sen. Bernie Sanders, former Sen. and Vice President Joe Biden, and Sen. Kamala Harris.

Add Sen. Cory Booker to this list now.

Before he was Sen. Booker, he was Mayor Booker of Newark, New Jersey and that is a key asset for him today. Senators do important things and they have tremendous power in our system. But they only do those things as a group. It takes at least a majority of the Senate to pass important and frankly unimportant bills. That means that most senators have a hard time standing out in a crowd of other senators running for the nomination of their political party.

President Obama was barely in the Senate when he was elected to be the leader of the free world. Sen. Barack Obama won the nomination and the presidency because of his message and his personality and his determination despite being in the Senate. John F. Kennedy was the last senator directly elected from that body to the presidency.

Cory Booker has his experience as the mayor of a city to point to when he discusses his reasons for why people should vote for him. Senators debate and debate and debate and compromise to get action. Mayors solve problems with decisions that they make and they live with the consequences. Look for his opponents to point to some of those decisions as reasons to not vote for him. But he can and he must point out that they can criticize all they want from the cheap seats of the U.S. Senate.

He can also use this experience to reach out to mayors in the Democratic Party all over the country. He can discuss zoning and economic development and community policing in a way that only someone who has been there can. When his opponents start to attack him on his previous decisions, he should have a cadre of Democrat mayors answering those attacks as if they too are being attacked.

Mayors can also deliver delegates to caucuses and voters to primaries when it counts. In 2016, Boston's Mayor Marty Walsh and New Bedford's Mayor Jon Mitchell put Hillary Clinton over the top in Massachusetts when they escorted President Bill Clinton at the polling places in the respective cities. Hillary barely beat Bernie that day in Massachusetts, and the credit in part goes to those two mayors who pulled out all the stops for their candidate.

It has been a long time since a local official ended up winning the nomination for a major political party, but that trend may change in 2020.

Chris McCarthy is the host of The Chris McCarthy Show on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from 10 a.m. to noon. Contact him at and follow him on Twitter @Chris_topher_Mc. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author. 

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