2020 Democratic Primary Candidates: Amy Klobuchar By Phillip Howard

2020 Democratic Primary Candidates: Amy Klobuchar By Phillip Howard

This series introduces 2020 Democratic primary candidates. Previous articles examined Pete Buttigieg, Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Julian Castro, and Cory Booker.

Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her campaign to run for president on a snowy day in February. Klobuchar is a former prosecutor, who graduated from Yale University and the University of Chicago School of Law.

“I stand before you as the granddaughter of an iron ore miner,” Klobuchar said, “the daughter of a teacher and a newspaperman, the first woman elected to the United States Senate from the state of Minnesota, to announce my candidacy for president of the United States.”

Presenting herself as a working-class candidate could be beneficial, especially in early caucus states like Iowa, where Klobuchar’s favorability was 51 percent among Democratic voters. Minnesota, narrowly won by Hillary Clinton in 2016, is a vital hold for Democrats, and an early target of the Trump campaign.

Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Photo by Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call

Klobuchar has regularly criticized the president and believes that she and other Democratic candidates “have learned how to deal with Trump” over the past few years. This starts with an “optimistic economic agenda” and consists of strategically engaging the president’s negative attacks as he tries to dominate every news cycle.  

Klobuchar has dealt with controversy after reports of her being unpleasant to work for. Klobuchar responded by saying that she can be tough and push people, stating “I have high expectations for myself. I have high expectations for the people that work for me. But I have high expectations for this country.”

Klobuchar supports a new trillion-dollar infrastructure bill, the Green New Deal, and has been a leader in Congress regarding data privacy and new regulations on Facebook following the 2016 election. Klobuchar does not support Medicare-for-all, instead focusing on preserving and improving the Affordable Care Act.  Like other candidates, Klobuchar has pledged to reject corporate PAC money and released 12 years of her tax returns.

Photo by  Bill Glauber /Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Photo by Bill Glauber /Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)

Electability is an asset for Klobuchar, who was reelected with among the largest margins of victories in 2018, and whose legislative record in among the most moderate in the primary field. Klobuchar also provides a clear contrast to the president without being as old as prominent contenders, nor saddled with as much political baggage.

Klobuchar’s appeal to non-white voters will be a challenge as will trying to build a premier staff with so many high profile candidates running. Klobuchar is polling behind most of the field, just over 1 percent, well behind Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, as well as her other colleagues in the Senate.

Klobuchar will need to expand her appeal during the debates and hope a strong showing in Iowa will propel her to sustained viability.

Phillip Howard is a graduate student at Utica College

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