Another upgrade: Klobuchar seen as 6th most likely 2020 Dem nominee

Sen. Amy Klobuchar
MinnPost file photo by Craig Lassig
Sen. Amy Klobuchar campaigning at the 2018 Pride parade in Minneapolis.

This is pretty dumb, and I did something similar a month ago when the presidential odds-makers at Vox upgraded their view of Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar as a possible 2020 candidate, but our senior senator got another upgrade in her presidential chances this week, this time from CNN, which moved her from seventh most likely Democratic nominee for president in 2020, to sixth mostly likely.

Klobuchar is heavily favored to win a third Senate term this year, generally deflects questions about any presidential aspirations, and is relatively less known nationally than some others on the list (but she did get a fair bit of generally favorable national exposure during the Brett Kavanaugh confirmation hearings). She got the promotion from CNN based on this:

Unlike her Senate colleagues Warren, Harris and even Gillibrand, the Minnesota Democrat isn’t one of the first names on most Democrats’ lips when the conversation turns to 2020. But during the Kavanaugh hearings, Klobuchar distinguished herself in ways no one else mentioned as a Democratic presidential candidate did. Her questioning of Kavanaugh’s drinking past became a huge moment — and one in which Klobuchar shone. If you are looking for a dark horse, you could do worse than Klobuchar.

This is still dumb, but if you’re curious, the five on the list ahead of Klobuchar, in order, are:

Massachusetts Sen Elizabeth Warren; California Sen. Kamala Harris; former Veep and Delaware Sen. Joe Biden; New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand; and Vermont Sen Bernie Sanders.

And maybe this is less dumb: For an old guy like me — born under President Harry Truman, when there was exactly one female in the U.S. Senate, Sen. Margaret Chase Smith, Republican of Maine; one of Hispanic heritage, and zero black senators — it’s pretty amazing, and evidence of a great deal of progress, that a list like this could get all the way to the sixth spot and have only two white males in the top five.

That made me want to look up a good quote from the great Sen. Smith, whom I recall from my childhood, that will help recall how much things have changed since she sought her first Senate term in 1948. The excerpt below is from Smith’s Wikipedia article; it refers to her race in the primary leading to her election for her first Senate term:

When the wife of one of her opponents questioned whether a woman would be a good Senator, Smith replied, “Women administer the home. They set the rules, enforce them, mete out justice for violations. Thus, like Congress, they legislate; like the Executive, they administer; like the courts, they interpret the rules. It is an ideal experience for politics. On June 21, 1948, she won the primary election and received more votes than her three opponents combined. In the general election on September 13, she defeated Democrat Adrian H. Scolten by a margin of 71%–29%.

The full CNN-updates-its-list piece is here.  

Comments (25)

  1. Submitted by Paul Brandon on 10/19/2018 - 09:42 am.

    I’d say that Klobuchar is a good compromise candidate. Let’s say that the nomination is deadlocked between Biden and Warren — she might be acceptable to both camps.
    Two years is a long time though. I’d place my money on Kamala Harris — a younger female ex-prosecuter of color. She also came off well in the Kaavanaugh hearings, and California has more voters than Minnesota.

    • Submitted by Solly Johnson on 10/20/2018 - 01:26 am.

      Kamala Harris as Attorney General in California refused to prosecute OneWest Bank and Steve Mnuchin when it was fairly obvious that there were numerous home foreclosure violations. Later, Mnuchin donated $2,000 to Harris’ campaign, the only Democrat to receive a donation from Mnuchin. She initially opposed single payer healthcare, body cameras for police officers, and other progressive measures. She is an establishment person and would have a difficult time getting progressive support.

  2. Submitted by Roy Everson on 10/19/2018 - 10:02 am.

    It is easy to imagine the early fading of Warren, Gillibrand and Sanders, but what is most likely to handicap Our Senator is a reluctance or lateness in getting into what will be a very crowded field, or getting attention among the bicoastal superegos like Cuomo and Harris who are certain to absorb most media attention. She has all the qualities of a great vice president, meaning that in a good way, of course.

    • Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/19/2018 - 12:22 pm.

      And what are those qualities? Being a centrist who takes care to avoid alienating Wall Street while voting for ever larger military budgets while our infrastructure continues to deteriorate? Keeping a low profile while attempting to work with a political party that has no desire to cooperate while it continues to funnel ever larger spoils of the economy to the point one percent while alimenting labor unions?

      Now that really is bold leadership, which will come in handy while we slide into a post-democratic nation. Nice.

  3. Submitted by James Hamilton on 10/19/2018 - 11:24 am.

    I sincerely hope she does not throw her hat in the ring, as I have never considered her a leader. To the contrary, I see her as a cautious politician, rarely taking the lead on anything controversial before carefully checking the prevailing political winds. While she’s gained some notoriety for her brief exchange with Kavanaugh, she is more often cast as a victim in that exchange rather than a strong, courageous inquisitor. Instead, she played it safe to avoid alienating voters. I expected a good deal more from a former prosecutor.

  4. Submitted by Pat Terry on 10/19/2018 - 11:40 am.

    She would be a good candiate in a matchup with Trump, but she’ll never get through the Democratic primaries because she’s been too cautious and too moderate.

    God help us if the contest is between Biden and Warren.

  5. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/19/2018 - 12:25 pm.

    Don Trump vs. Klobs? Bringing a knife to a gun fight doesn’t begin to describe it. More like taking on a battle ship with a sling shot. Trump may want to have 4 debates, but I may not be able to watch one.

  6. Submitted by Pat Brady on 10/19/2018 - 01:00 pm.

    In tone, temperament Senator Klobuchar would be a perfect antidote to Trump in 2020. I am old enough to remember Carter providng it for our nation after the Nixon debacle.
    In a piece by O. Nuzzi in Cut.com on Power and Women:
    Senator Amy Klobuchar said” In politics, power is when you get something done for the people you represent. Sometimes the result is a bill gets passed, sometimes it’s getting something done for a consitituent.
    But sometimes it’s just making people know that you have their back and that you’re a voice for them, which is what I think happened at the hearing.”

    Her MidWestern Democratic roots in MN would be a refreshing powerful voice for the 2020 election cycle.

  7. Submitted by Jerry Gale on 10/19/2018 - 01:46 pm.

    I wrote way back in April 2018 that Amy was going to be the next president and gave some excellent reasons why I believe that prediction. I believe it even stronger today.

    https://mndemsvolunteer.com/2018/04/02/get-ready-for-president-klobuchar/

    • Submitted by Pat Brady on 10/19/2018 - 02:11 pm.

      You did say it first.
      Great points , but I disagree that she is a moderate.
      She is willing to work across the aisle but she does not forgo her DFL roots to just get along.
      Of couse she has the Iowa State Fair tour nailed!

  8. Submitted by Frank Phelan on 10/19/2018 - 02:22 pm.

    Wow. The naivete. Amazing.

    Don Trump would slice through Klobs like a hot knife through butter. This would not be pretty.

  9. Submitted by Tom Anderson on 10/19/2018 - 07:33 pm.

    Any chance the author will ask the big question, “do you intend to run for President in 2020 Senator Klobuchar? ” Littler question, “is there any chance that you will run for President in 2020?”

    No way Mr. Black asks, and no way that the Senator gives any answer to a yes or no question. No offense to Mr. Black as nobody asks the question or pursues it beyond accepting her non-answer.

  10. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/20/2018 - 10:20 am.

    I think Democratic centrists see Klobuchar as the dream candidate they thought Hillary was. She’s Hillary without the baggage, distrust, and historic unpopularity. Klubuchar is also NOT a horrible candidate who can’t run an effective campaign. I have no doubt she’d defeat Trump should Trump decide to run again.

    But the political landscape will be very different in 2020. We will probably be looking at a Democratically controlled congress, with far more Democrats in charge of States. If Trump is still in office he will have no doubt spent two years blocking almost every liberal policy or roll back of his own policies. There may well be a pent up demand for liberal policy that a moderate like Klobuchar won’t be able to meet. I like her, and I vote for her, but let’s face it… mediocrity is her specialty. Even if she gets nominated and elected, it might be huge lost opportunity for American’s who need a whole host of liberal policies. It could be yet another example of Democrats standing at the starting line who step out and walk in circles when the starting gun is fired instead of sprinting to the finish line.

  11. Submitted by Paul Udstrand on 10/20/2018 - 10:24 am.

    I think Warren just took herself off the list. This fiasco with the DNA test is probably a fatal mistake as far as any national ambitions are involved. No one with any real connection to the native community would have pulled this stunt in the first place.

    Meanwhile Trump cannot be embarrassed because he has no shame, so any attempt to wring a million bucks out of him based on a DNA test was never going to be more than a headline for a few days in any event.

  12. Submitted by Brett Adams on 10/20/2018 - 11:46 pm.

    Blah-blah-blah, people. Prediction: Klobuchar runs, wins presidency in 2020. Check back to confirm. (Mic drop.)

  13. Submitted by Paul Yochim on 10/21/2018 - 09:40 am.

    Why should she run in 2020? Because of her cautious stance she is pretty secure in her position with Minnesota (Twin Cities) voters as long as she wants it. She did have a rare “gotcha moment” in the Kavanaugh hearings but aside from that she has been fairly quiet. If all here opponent in this election cam claim is that her husband was a “hockey hero” then Klobuchar has nothing to worry about.

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