Cory Booker Can’t Erase His Big Pharma Vote With A Mere ‘Pause’ In Industry Campaign Finance Cash [Opinion]

In an NPR Morning Edition interview on Friday, Sen. Cory Booker said that he has put a “pause” on accepting campaign fundraising donations from pharmaceutical companies. Presumably, he’s trying to show voters that he’s a people’s candidate like Bernie Sanders, Nina Turner, and Tulsi Gabbard. The only problem is that the people didn’t forget that Cory Booker voted down an amendment to legislation proposed by Sen. Bernie Sanders that would allow Americans to buy their medications from Canada, where they are much cheaper. The legislation would have helped many Americans afford life saving drugs.

Senator Booker voted with the Republicans.

Cory Booker is marketed by the Democratic Party as a fierce Progressive. Many suspect that the Democrats will try to run him as their lead man in the next presidential election in 2020, according to The Intercept. So, when NPR’s Rachel Martin asked Booker about his previous campaign donations from the pharmaceutical companies, many Progressives rolled their eyes at Booker’s response and remembered his big pharma vote.

Booker told Martin that he comes from “a big pharma state.” Booker is the junior senator from New Jersey. New Jersey is home to 14 of the world’s 20 largest drug companies, according to the state’s website. Booker’s comment about the cost of medications in other countries was a stab in the back to Progressives after his nay vote to Bernie’s amendment.

“And I understand that pharmaceutical companies are making innovations that are lifesaving,” Booker said. “But something has become terribly twisted if you can go to other countries who can buy drugs that are made and innovated in the United States and find them for dramatically less costs.”

Something is terribly twisted indeed, Sen. Booker.

Martin reminded Booker that last month he suggested that he might give back some of his donations from drug companies. She asked him if he did that yet. He didn’t actually answer her, so it’s probably safe to deduce that he didn’t give back any of the big pharma cash.

Booker told Martin that his team did put a pause on receiving contributions from big pharma companies though, “because it arouses so much criticism.”

Booker said he’d like to focus on getting small donations from regular people.

I bet he’d love some $27 donations, but those are generally reserved for people who don’t vote against Senator Sanders’ legislative work.

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That wasn’t all that Martin brought up though. Martin also flat out asked him why the Democrats are losing so many of their special elections.

“The Democrats just lost a handful of special elections that your party was hoping to win. What is not working?”

In response to that, Booker answered some imaginary question that Martin didn’t actually ask him.

“I hurt when I — in my community, you know, I could just open my door and walk out and see that there are so many people in this country that feel like their voices are not being valued, that they’re not being respected. And I’ve traveled. I just came back from Alabama and Louisiana, going to poor communities and seeing the outrageous environmental injustices going on. I just…”

The NPR interview with Corey Booker took place just over a week after Sen. Bernie Sanders called big pharma the second most powerful political force in D.C. Senator Booker is going to have to do a lot more than just pause big pharma donations if he’s hoping to see some $27 donations come his way.

[Featured Image by Seth Wenig/AP Images]