Corey Booker, speaking as a panelist on the National Action Network Convention organized by Rev. Al Sharpton last weekend, pointed the finger at low Black voter turnout to explain why Republicans won victories across the nation during the 2016 election cycle. Booker compared his observations during the 2008 cycle to what he saw in the year after President Obama’s election.

In 2008 when I went to vote for president I got to my polling place, voting for Barack Obama, there was a line around the polling place… Now one year later, I go to vote in New Jersey’s gubernatorial election [2009]. We have an incumbent Democrat and a challenging Republican you all never heard of called Chris Christie. Nobody shows up to the polls. Nobody shows up. And the Republican narrowly wins. And then he cuts the Earned Income Tax Credit, he pulls us out of greenhouse gas agreements. And everybody wants to wonder, ‘Why are the Republicans doing this to us? Why are the Republicans doing this to us?’ We did it to ourselves.

Booker went on to posit that the historically low voter turnout among Black people was a key factor in the success of Trump’s presidential campaign, even though 58% of white voters swung Trump’s way compared to only 8% of Black voters. Also on the panel with Booker were figures whom Sharpton said were “… trying to test the temperature to see if they should announce.” The other Black Democratic senator in Congress, Kamala Harris, Bernie Sanders, Elizabeth Warren, and Kirsten Gillibrand are all seen as potential Democratic nominees for president for the 2020 election cycle and were all alongside Booker on the panel discussion.

At one point, Senator Gillibrand described Donald Trump as “what the darkness looks like. He is what the darkness sounds like.” However, the good Senator Booker called what many would say is honesty divisive, telling Senator Gillibrand: “I am tired of people allowing someone who preaches hate to turn us into haters, someone who spews darkness to make us go dark, someone who’s trying to divide to make us attack other people.”