Corey Booker, a Senate candidate and rising star on the Democratic scene, said on NBC's "Meet the Press" the nation had lost its ability to move forward in united fashion.
"We have too much division going on in our politics," said Booker. "When people come together, you make remarkable results."
Booker said the anniversary of the landmark civil rights march on Washington was a reminder that Martin Luther King was able to build a movement that included a wide spectrum of society all pushing for the same goal.
"What Dr. King harnessed was the power of the grassroots, the power of people coming together saying this is worth fighting for, this is worth being an activist for," Booker said.
Booker went on to chastise Americans for refusing take part in democracy, but instead sitting back and treating politics like a blood sport in which the opposition is hated and compromise is considered a failure.
"We are stuck in that anti-King stance where hate divides," Booker said. "I simply think we're in a zero-sum game, where if your side wins, my side loses."