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The Carletonian

Klobuchar would be the ideal 2020 candidate

As discussions of the 2020 Democratic Primary heat up and candidates begin to throw their hats in the ring, an important figure in Minnesota politics is one of many potential options. While Senator Amy Klobuchar may not have the same name recognition as Joe Biden or Elizabeth Warren, nor the youthful energy of a politician like Beto O’Rourke or Kamala Harris, she offers the party a dedicated, principled, and—perhaps most importantly—electable choice for 2020. Klobuchar began her career in the Senate in 2006, coming into office in a strong Democratic wave year. However, her ability to uniquely connect with Minnesota voters led her to later victories with impressively high margins for a Democrat in a swing state. In 2018, Amy Klobuchar won her Senate race by 24 points, outperforming both Tina Smith’s special election Senate race and Democrats’ overall performance in House races by 11 points. Klobuchar’s performance is even more impressive when compared to some of her Senate colleagues and potential 2020 competitors. Elizabeth Warren also won reelection by 24 points, but in Massachusetts, a state that voted for Hillary Clinton by 28 points. Minnesota, on the other hand, was one of the closest states in the country in 2016, with Hillary Clinton winning by just a point and a half. Klobuchar’s ability to win—and win big—in the Midwest would prove invaluable in 2020, after a 2016 presidential election decided by 80,000 votes in three Midwestern swing states.

Though electability is undoubtedly an important factor, it is also important to consider how a candidate would govern, and Amy Klobuchar has shown that she would excel in that regard. Klobuchar doesn’t make a lot of flashy speeches or lofty promises; instead, she gets bills passed. Despite working from the minority in the Senate, Klobuchar has led her colleagues in the number of sponsored or co-sponsored bills signed into law. Because it is unlikely the next president will have control over both bodies of Congress, the ability to work across party lines and pass bills tackling shared priorities will be valuable. Amy Klobuchar can use her existing connections in the Senate to weather situations like the government shutdown with far more success than the current administration. While Klobuchar is capable of collaborating with Republicans, she has also demonstrated her ability to champion the interests of the party. During Justice Kavanaugh’s confirmation hearing, for instance, Klobuchar used her background as a prosecutor to effectively question if he had ever blacked out from consuming too much alcohol. This line of questioning flustered him and caused him to slip up.

Klobuchar is not the most progressive candidate in the 2020 race. She has yet to advocate for positions like Medicare-for-All or a Green New Deal. This may be rightfully concerning to some, but with split party control of the government, such bills are unlikely to become law in the near future. She has a 100% rating from Planned Parenthood, a 13% rating from the NRA and a 100% rating from the National Education Association. Currently, Klobuchar is championing bills that would lower pharmaceutical costs, lift the trade embargo on Cuba, require companies to let consumers opt out of sharing their online data, and stop those who have committed domestic violence from buying firearms. These kinds of bills are not radical, but they show the kind of leader Klobuchar would be: one who could make steady progress on the numerous domestic and foreign issues that the government needs to try to solve.

If Amy Klobuchar fails to gain traction in the 2020 Democratic primary, it will likely be because of her low name recognition and Minnesota-nice attitude fail to propel her into the national spotlight. However, if Democrats appreciate Klobuchar’s legislative success and her ability to make genuine connections with necessary swing voters, she would make a formidable general election candidate. Amy Klobuchar is a genuine, hard-working, and uniquely Minnesotan politician and she should run for president in 2020 embracing each of those qualities.

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