One who tweets much can only expect this to happen.
In an article for PolitickerNJ, Democratic Assembly Speaker Sheila Oliver expressed an interest in running against Cory Booker for the Democratic nominee spot in the upcoming 2014 New Jersey Senate race. And, right off the bat, she brought some fighting words with her.
“I want to know what his platform is. What is your position on gun control, what is your position on public education? I don’t care that you’re in Vogue magazine or Esquire. That’s not important to me as a citizen of this state. What’s important to me is what will your positions be on Capitol Hill?”
When Cory Booker filed his papers for a senatorial race next year, the main question he faced was whether or not veteran Senator Frank Lautenberg would seek re-election for an office he has occupied for a few decades or so. But, now, it seems as if he has another obstacle to face from potential opponents: himself.
Oliver used this criticism as an underlying theme of the gender difference in New Jersey politics: “I am very concerned about the lack of women in our congressional delegation. And I don’t feel that an assumption should be made that because Cory has national celebrity that national celebrity translates into who should be our next U.S. Senator.”
Except star power in politics is a damn strong dynamic to work against, especially in 2013.
As government digitalizes, voters are gravitating towards candidates that can navigate the Web better than most of your old relatives. This was a major force behind the election (and re-election) of President Barack Obama. In Michael Hasting’s “How Obama Won the Internet” piece for Buzzfeed, the point was repeated again: if you win online, you win offline. Whether it’s a powerful Twitter presence or an AMA on Reddit, the more sociable candidate has a definitive advantage over the more backwards rival.
Cory Booker is aware of that. He’s gone above and beyond with his electorate interaction, whether it’s him blogging a food stamp challenge or tweeting back at followers the most simple of conversational gestures. Hence why he’s become the national star that he is; any politician that does well on the Internet will pick up traction nationwide.
So, towards Oliver’s point, yes, it’s significant to say that star power needs to be paralleled with substantive policy platforms. But, at the same time, this is the direction politics is moving. And the last thing you would want is to get caught on the wrong side of that.