January is going to be her big month at last. Senator Amy Klobuchar is the sleeper candidate that’s just waiting for the optimal moment to peak and start building some serious “Klomentum” in her drive toward the 2020 Democratic nomination. Or at least that’s the story we appear to be getting from David Leonhardt at the New York Times. And even better than that? She can beat Donald Trump like a bongo in a conga line.
If you’re like a lot of Democrats, you worry that Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are too liberal — or at least that other voters think so. You’re also not buying the Pete Buttigieg hype. And you get nervous every time Joe Biden opens his mouth.
So where are you supposed to find a comfortably electable, qualified candidate who won’t turn 80 while in office?
Senator Amy Klobuchar has become an answer to that question in the final month before voting begins. She has outlasted more than a dozen other candidates and has two big strengths: A savvy understanding of how to campaign against President Trump and a track record of winning the sorts of swing voters Democrats will likely need this year.
This Klobuchar love letter from Leonhardt is truly something to behold. He goes on to point out that she “won” the last debate (or was at least one of the winners) and her fourth-quarter fundraising basically doubled her take in the third quarter. Of course, that figure was still more than tripled by Bernie Sanders, but who’s counting? Unnamed “top Democrats” tell Leonhardt that Klobuchar has the best chance of beating Donald Trump.
That apparently wasn’t enough hyperbole for the peanut gallery, however. The author goes on from there to compare her to (and I’m not even kidding here) Harry Truman. I’ll leave it up to you to click through and discover the full explanation as to why.
Klobuchar’s path to the nomination (and then the presidency) is an uphill one by the author’s own admission, but he sees it as doable. Do well enough in Iowa and then New Hampshire so that she can keep the contributions flowing in while all but three other candidates drop out. Unfortunately for both Klobuchar and Leonhardt, that’s the same path that a dozen other people are counting on.
Now, to be fair, I’ve been saying since she first got into the race that she would be a dangerous candidate if she won the nomination. Back when she first declared, I wrote that she shied away from the crazy socialist stuff quite a bit and had that “Minnesota nice” thing going for her. She’s squarely in the moderate lane and could potentially be thought of like a younger, female version of Joe Biden, minus the inappropriate handsyness and memory lapses. And now that she’s agreed to disclose government UFO information as president (well… sort of, anyway), what’s not to like?
But even for all of that, her potential upside hasn’t seemed to catch on with primary voters. Admittedly, as of this weekend, she has admirably climbed up to seven percent in Iowa and managed the same level of support in New Hampshire. But even in those two states, there are at least four candidates ahead of her with several registering up in the twenties. And the latest RCP numbers for the national race still have her stuck at two percent, even trailing Bloomberg and Yang.
That’s a lot of ground to make up no matter how you slice it. Some of those other dark horse candidates are probably going to be just as determined to stay in for the long run as she is, if not more so. And at least a few of them (like Bloomberg) will have all the money they need to do so, while Klobuchar will have to continue to rely on small-dollar donors keeping her in the game. I suppose nothing is impossible in American politics these days, but even if I were a liberal Democrat and a Klobuchar fan, I’d find it hard to be anywhere near as optimistic as Leonhardt is.