Booker, Menendez Give New Meaning to Senate Diversity
A Halloween present for the racists out there—may it give them nightmares.
WASHINGTON — As Cory Booker took his place Thursday beside Robert Menendez in the U.S. Senate, history was made in an institution that has long been the province of white men.
New Jersey becomes the first state to be represented by a black and a Latino senator at the same time. It’s a sign of progress, political experts say, as the United States moves toward a point three decades from now when whites are no longer in the majority. […]
Booker is the first African American elected to the Senate since Barack Obama in 2004, and only the ninth black person to serve in the upper chamber of Congress. He will join Sen. Tim Scott, R-S.C., who was appointed in January, as the only black senators. […]
Diverse duos are not new for the Senate. Hawaii was represented by two Asian Americans at the same time for decades, until Brian Schatz was appointed to the Senate last year to serve the remainder of the late Daniel Inouye’s term. There are also three states — California, New Hampshire and Washington — that are now represented by two women senators. It’s the milestone of an African American and a Latino senator serving at the same time that makes New Jersey unique.
New Jersey’s Senate representation by Menendez, who is Cuban American, and Booker is possible in part because the state itself is diverse. Slightly more than 42% of New Jersey’s population are black and Latino. […]