By Lulu Chang
Presidential hopeful Corey Booker is single. Will that hurt his candidacy? Insider asks relationship expert Susan Winter for her thoughts on being single in political office.
Corey Booker, the Democratic Senator from New Jersey, has long been the subject of speculation when it comes to the next presidential race. In a lengthy interview with New York Magazine, the former mayor of Newark continued to fan the flames, saying it would be “irresponsible” not to consider running in 2020.
Booker could make an ideal presidential candidate for the Democratic Party
After graduating from Stanford on a Rhodes Scholarship, Booker studied law at Yale and quickly made his way into politics, winning a seat on the Municipal Council of Newark in 1998. He also developed a knack for attracting attention — in order to raise awareness for urban development issues in the New Jersey city, Booker engaged in a 10-day hunger strike and also lived in a tent for a brief period.
But it’s not only the political arena in which Booker has managed to draw headlines — back in 2013, he made heartwarming news for saving a freezing dog in the dead of winter, and the previous year, he ran into a burning house to save his next door neighbor. And because Booker seems to document the vast majority of his life on Twitter, there’s not a whole lot we don’t know about this would-be presidential candidate.
And that includes his relationship status.
Cory Booker is single, which has only been the case for two other presidents in US history
In the history of the United States, the electorate has only ever voted two bachelors into the White House. The most recent was Grover Cleveland, who began his first term in 1885 (and then married while in office). Before Cleveland, James Buchanan was the only bachelor to serve as commander in chief, and at this point, it’s been 133 years since we’ve had a president who was also single.
There’s a political advantage to having a spouse or significant other
Political ads often tout candidates’ family values, and campaign posters almost always include images of a candidate smiling alongside their partner, children, and at least one four-legged friend.
This doesn’t necessarily come as a surprise — as relationship expert Susan Winter told INSIDER, “marriage has long been viewed as the entry point to adulthood, signaling reliability, responsibility, and steadfastness. A man with a family has more to lose, and therefore, more to keep him in line.”
In other words, if you’re “good enough” to be committed to someone — and have someone committed to you, too — you can’t be all bad. Plus, having an impressive partner can add to a candidate’s credibility.
“Every smart politician knows that their private image is their public image,” concluded Winter. “To be seen as reliable and trustworthy, public figures realize that each aspect of their life will come under scrutiny. Cory Booker’s current status of being single isn’t an issue if his comportment is in alignment with the image he seeks to maintain.”
Photo: Getty Images/Spenser Platt