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Cory Booker. Photo: Joshua Lott/Getty Images

Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) announced Monday that he is dropping out of the 2020 presidential race.

The big picture: Although Booker was seen as a rising star in Democratic politics, he struggled to shine in the 2020 race. In recent weeks, he focused his ire on the dwindling diversity in the Democratic field, saying in December that the race had "more billionaires than black people" after Kamala Harris' departure.

  • He also went head-to-head with frontrunner former Vice President Joe Biden in response to his comments on segregationist senators, and Biden's tendency to invoke President Obama as a political play.
  • Booker also confronted Biden over his continued opposition to legalizing recreational marijuana. He argued "marijuana in our country is already legal for privileged people" at the November debate.
  • Having failed to qualify for the December debate, Booker circulated a letter that month asking the Democratic National Committee to ease future debate standards. All seven candidates who did qualify for the December debate signed on.

Yes, but: Booker's past had vulnerabilities. In the 2014 election cycle, he was the top recipient of Wall Street money, and he's also seen as a friend of Silicon Valley and the the pharmaceutical industry.

The state of play, via Axios' Alexi McCammond: His decision comes just one day before the next Democratic debate, days before the start of President Trump's impeachment trial (where he'll serve as a juror) and three weeks before the Iowa caucuses.

What he's saying:

"I will be doing everything in my power to elect the eventual Democratic nominee for president, whomever that may be, and to elect great Democrats to the Senate and up and down the ballot. 2020 is the most important election of our lifetimes — we have to beat Donald Trump ... but beating Trump is the floor, not the ceiling."
— Cory Booker, via a campaign email to supporters

Watch his video:

A tweet previously embedded here has been deleted or was tweeted from an account that has been suspended or deleted.

What's next: Booker is up for re-election to his Senate seat in 2020.

  • One bright spot: a SurveyMonkey poll for Axios showed him as a potential presidential choice for 24% of Democrats in 2024 — behind only Pete Buttigieg and Kamala Harris.

Go deeper: 2020 presidential election: Track which candidates are running

Go deeper

The Democrats' wake-up call

Eric Adams, a former cop who leads the New York mayoral race, speaks last night at the Schimanski nightclub in Williamsburg, Brooklyn. Photo: Robert Nickelsberg/Getty Images

Democrats, in private and public, are warning that rising crime — and the old and new progressive calls to defund the police — represent the single biggest threat to their electoral chances in 2022.

Why it matters: There has been a big spike in big-city crime, a dynamic increasingly captured in local coverage and nationally on CNN and Fox News.

The robotaxi era will require a rethinking of vehicle safety

Zoox's robotaxi is bidirectional and includes more than 100 safety innovations. Photo: Zoox

Vehicles are being reimagined as autonomous, electric, toaster-shaped robotaxis. Now their safety has to be reworked too.

The big picture: There's more to self-driving cars than just removing the steering wheel and pedals. The entire vehicle needs to be redesigned for riders, not drivers, so their safety can be assured even when they're not in control.

Apple puts antitrust bills in privacy spotlight

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Apple warned Wednesday that new antitrust legislation would place iPhone customers' privacy and security at risk by limiting the company's control over what apps users can install.

Driving the news: Apple CEO Tim Cook called House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and other top Democrats to argue that the antitrust bills would hurt innovation and consumers, per a New York Times report.