Is Twitter Superhero Cory Booker in Silicon Valley’s Pocket?
Cory Booker, the mayor of Newark, New Jersey, is one of the hippest, most tech-savvy politicians in the country. He’s known nationwide for using Twitter to connect to constituents and others, and for saving old ladies trapped in burning buildings and dogs trapped in crates; during Hurricane Sandy, he even let some of his neighbors stay in his house. At first glance, he’s the quintessential charismatic politician come to save a city beleaguered by crime and poverty. But high-profile acts of heroism notwithstanding, America’s favorite mayor (and, it’s more or less assumed at this point, a candidate for president in the not-too-distant future) spends a lot of time chilling with Silicon Valley execs and hedge-fund bros, and, more importantly, freely uses those connections to enrich himself.
As the New York Times recently revealed, despite the fact that he is currently running for (and about to win) a seat in the US Senate, Booker has up to $5 million of equity in a YouTube-esque startup company called Waywire that was conceived on his behalf a couple years ago by Ashton Kutcher’s Twitter guru. Booker personally lobbied tech industry billionaires like Google’s Eric Schmidt (and other rich people he knows, like Oprah) to provide $1.75 million in seed money, and he’s used appearances around the country made in the name of attracting investment to his troubled city (including a speech at South by Southwest in Austin, Texas) to plug the startup. That won’t help Newark much but it will likely help Booker’s personal bank account.
VOTE FOR WHOEVER YOU WANT
Here we are. After years—fucking years—of campaigning, spin, narrative, counter-spin, ads, interviews, news cycles, primaries, debates, speeches, pressers, PACs, think pieces, tweets, conventions, scandals, fundraising dinners, and rallies, the election is happening. We finally get to VOTE, guys! For president! All that’s left is to actually, physically, select the candidate we’re voting for. Most of you have already decided whether to vote for Barack Obama or Mitt Romney through careful deliberation or a deep, instinctive hatred of the guy you don’t want in the Oval Office—or you’re so disgusted with both candidates that you’re going with some other dude out of sheer frustration.
But your options aren’t limited to Obama, Romney, and the most prominent third-party candidates. You aren’t even limited to the long list of people officially running for president (some of whom have endearingly amateur websites). There’s a line on the ballot where you can write down the name of whoever, or whatever, you want to be president. People take advantage of it too: In 2008, over 100,000 folks chose to exercise their franchise by picking “none of the above” and wrote in votes for Donald Duck, Vermin Supreme, Jesus, and Bill Clinton, among others. Why not join them this time around? After all, being one of the millions of people who vote for Obama or Romney will not change anything or have any effect on the election, whereas being the only person to vote for “Poop Comes Out Of My Butthole Haha” will at least make a poor, overworked ballot counter smile. Here are some options if you aren’t satisfied with the Democrats, Republicans, Greens, Libertarians, and Poop Comes Out Of My Butthole Haha:
Remember when Hillary ran for president in 2008 and lost out to Obama? Well, some people are still really, really pissed about that. PUMAs (“Party Unity My Ass”) are a loose group of people who are so pro-Hillary and anti-Obama that they’ll either vote for Romney or write in “Hillary Clinton” on their ballots in the manner of a lovesick tween writing the names of the guys in One Direction all over her homework. These former Democrats not only won’t ever vote for Obama, they’ll also start rumors that he’s gay. Join their movement on Election Day!
You know who is also not running for president? Ron Paul. He was in the Republican primaries, then dropped out. Now, if you want to cast your ballot for an anti-government, anti-war, pro-marijuana legalization candidate, you still can—there’s always Gary Johnson, the guy running on the Libertarian Party ticket. But what if you want to vote for a candidate who has those policies but also has a history of publishing a racist newsletter? Well, you’ll have no other option than writing Ron Paul’s name on the ballot. You gotta stay true to your principles.
OK, but what about people who want to vote for someone with the Paul name, but think that casting a write-in ballot for Ron, a guy who at one point ran for president, is just too “lamestream”? Those folks are going to have to go with Rand Paul, Ron’s son, who supports some of his dad’s policies and looks like a guy who could be president, not a leprechaun. Rand is going to get at least one vote—Daniel McCarthy, the editor of The American Conservative, who wants to send a message to the GOP with his vote. I’m sure the party will be paying attention to everyone who receives write-in votes, but even if they somehow choose to ignore Dan’s vote, Rand’s running in 2016 anyway. He’s already in Iowa.
The Newark, New Jersey, mayor probably needs to run for governor before he runs for president, but it’s only a matter of time. He’s charismatic, he uses Twitter to interact with his constituents directly (he even recently took the time to give some inspiration to a user named @DAT_NIGGA_REEE), and is basically a character from a not-entirely-believable TV drama—he let people stay at his house during hurricane Sandy, and he fucking saved a woman from a burning building. How do you run against a guy like that? Might as well get used to voting for him, America.