Another day, another Democrat declaring their 2020 candidacy. This time it was Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who decided to kick things off with a nearly hour-long speech in the middle of a blizzard. Just as a side note, there are currently only 45 Democrats in the Senate. (Sanders and King being independents who caucus with them.) How many of them are going to wind up running? Will any Democrats show up for votes next year or will they all be on the campaign trail?
Anyway, this wasn’t the most exciting announcement imaginable, particularly with the weather. But Klobuchar wanted to make it clear that she was in it to win it, just as soon as the rest of the country figures out who she is. (New York Post)
Using a snowing Minnesota as her backdrop, Democratic Sen. Amy Klobuchar announced Sunday that she would seek the presidency.
“Now when I said elected leaders should go not just where it’s comfortable but also where it’s uncomfortable, this is what I mean,” the Minnesota politician quipped to the crowd as snow whipped around them.
Walking onstage wearing a mustard-colored jacket and scarf, Klobuchar hollered, “We don’t let a little snow stop us! We don’t let a little cold stop us!”
“Are you guys even cold?” she asked supporters who were holding up blue and red “Amy for America” signs.
As seems to be happening with several of the Democratic hopefuls, Klobuchar launched her official campaign in the middle of a bad news cycle. As Politico recently reported, there are former staffers of hers spreading tales of her erratic temperament, including bouts of screaming and hurling office supplies at her underlings. When her announcement wound up taking place during a snowstorm I was already seeing jokes on social media about reporters ducking ice-covered binders being chucked at their heads.
Senator Klobuchar faces a few significant hurdles if she wants to win this particular prize. First of all, while she’s quite popular in her home state (with approval numbers floating upwards of 60), outside of Minnesota she’s one of the least known candidates. Early primary polling including her name saw her registering between one and two percent. One segment on CNN this morning cited her name recognition nationally being in the thirties… among Democrats. And she hasn’t done much to attract national headlines (positive or negative) in recent memory the way that other senators such as Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have.
Also, if Klobuchar is known for one thing in her party, it’s being a “moderate” who has been able to work with the GOP on occasion. Does that sound like the sort of profile the Democratic base is looking for in 2020? Too many of them are howling for more a far more liberal agenda. This candidate is going to need to beef up her socialist bona fides if she wants to make significant headway.
Even for all of that, Klobuchar could be an interesting candidate if she can put the “temperament” questions behind her and boost her name recognition. She may not be a fire and brimstone sort of speaker like Barack Obama, but she’s got that “Minnesota nice” thing going for her. Her speaking style seems very folksy and relatable. Even if she doesn’t have the crowds up on their feet and waving pitchforks, she can hold their attention. The big question is what she’s offering in terms of a platform that the other several dozen Democrats aren’t already peddling. She’s probably still far down in dark horse territory, but she might be worth keeping an eye on going forward.