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The Case for Amy Klobuchar & Her Recent Rise in the Polls

A lot of Americans still have a hard time pronouncing her last name, but that might change for Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar after the Iowa caucuses. Iowa is known for pushing lesser known candidates into the limelight such as Jimmy Carter in 1976, Pat Robertson who had a strong second place finish in 1988, Mike Huckabee in 2008 and former PA Sen. Rick Santorum in 2012. They didn't all get the nomination, but their strong showing in Iowa gave them an opportunity to convey their message to a national audience.

This year's "Iowa surprise" might be Klobuchar who has been slowly gaining steam there as she crisscrosses the state and rallies with larger and more enthusiastic crowds. On New Years Eve, 400 Iowans packed into a high school’s cafeteria to hear her speak and voters across the state have come away impressed. Her polling numbers have slowly increased throughout the Fall as she turned in a string of strong debate performances. Recent polls show that she has now solidified her hold on 5th place in both Iowa and New Hampshire in the large Democratic field, and her standing has increased as other candidates have withdrawn or experienced polling set-backs. Klobuchar is now one of only six of the candidates to have qualified for next week's Democratic debate.

Her polling and debate performances have also led to more media attention and she recently reported a surge in donations. The Minnesota Senator raised $11.4 million in the final three months of 2019, her strongest fundraising quarter since launching her campaign.

Klobuchar's appeal is that she is a moderate, she calls herself “progressive but practical,” who has won three elections in the Midwest including many of the counties in Minnesota that voted for Donald Trump in 2016. As other candidates have tried to keep up with the laundry list of campaign promises from Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders, Klobuchar has continued to argue for policies that have a realistic chance of being approved by Congress and appeal to the independents and moderate Republicans in the suburbs that abandoned Donald Trump and helped elect a Democratic House in 2018.

Washington Post: ... "She has criticized other Democrats in the 2020 race, arguing that their liberal policies will doom them in the general election. She presents herself, in contrast, as a political realist and, during her stump speech, often ticks through a litany of bills she has passed as a member of the Senate, many with the support of Republicans."

Klobuchar opposes the Bernie Sanders "Medicare for All" plan, but supports lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55, and co-sponsored a bill that would build a public option into Obamacare to allow people to buy into Medicaid or Medicare. She supports abortion rights, marijuana legalization, a minimum wage increase and a comprehensive immigration plan to legalize most undocumented immigrants while beefing up border security. She hasn't signed on to the "green new deal," but she has released her own climate plan which would restore Obama-era policies like his Clean Power Plan and gas mileage standards, and supports legislation to reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050.

So, In some ways, she is a younger, more articulate, female version of Joe Biden, with much more experience than the other leading moderate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg. If either falters a bit leading up to the Iowa caucuses, Klobuchar would be the most likely candidate to pick up additional support.

Washington Post, Jennifer Rubin: ... "she provides the Goldilocks solution for many undecided voters. She is not a septuagenarian, but is nevertheless seasoned. She is moderate on policy positions, but is also a populist willing to go after lobbyists and Big Pharma. She is a woman (risky!), but someone who can tout her ability to win the states behind the Blue Wall (electable!)."

Klobuchar also talks a lot about getting things done when she is elected. It's one thing to have "plans," but it's quite another thing to get them enacted. She feels that's her strength.

New York Times: "Her bipartisan approach to politics — she takes pride in being able to “disagree without being disagreeable” — has won her praise from colleagues on both sides of the aisle and helped her pass dozens of bills through Congress."

And a recent study done by the Center for Effective Lawmaking at Vanderbilt University and the University of Virginia found that she is the most effective Democratic Senator in Congress. “Sen. Klobuchar is not only the top-performing Democratic senator, but she is the fifth best-performing senator overall, despite her minority-party status. She is the only minority-party senator to break the overall top five since 2002, and is only the second minority-party senator to do so since Sen. John McCain did it in 1994.”


Because it's on her home turf in the Midwest, Iowa will make or break Klobuchar's chances for the nomination. She will need a top-five or six finish to stay in the race. Anything above 5th, would cement her place as a front-runner and give her a boost for New Hampshire.


By: Don Lam & Curated Content

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