Indiana Daily Student

OPINION: Amy Klobuchar deserves to be taken seriously

<p>Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks at the Democratic National Convention summer session Aug. 23, 2019, in San Francisco, California.</p>

Presidential candidate Amy Klobuchar speaks at the Democratic National Convention summer session Aug. 23, 2019, in San Francisco, California.

The successive victories of Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., in New Hampshire and Nevada, following his popular vote win in Iowa, have left moderates within the Democratic Party scrambling to find a candidate that anti-Sanders Democrats can coalesce behind before one-third of all delegates are allotted on March 3. 

Some have argued that moderation is the best way to build the coalition to defeat President Donald Trump in November. And yet, in the search for an alternative to Sanders, the one presidential candidate who has proved this theory in election after election is being largely ignored. Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., may not be loud or particularly progressive, but she knows how to win. And she sure as hell deserves to be taken seriously. 

Shocking some, Klobuchar finished third in the New Hampshire primary, beating both Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., and former Vice President Joe Biden by more than 10 points and finishing eight points above her polling average. Anyone familiar with her political career wouldn’t have been surprised.

Klobuchar was first elected to the Senate in 2006, defeating her Republican opponent by more than 20 points, and won reelection in 2012 by 35 points. Former President Barack Obama, by comparison, won Minnesota in his 2012 presidential reelection campaign by fewer than eight points.

She was elected a third time in 2018 by 24 points, finishing seven points ahead of Sen. Tina Smith, D-Minn., who was running for the state’s other Senate seat, and six points ahead of Gov. Tim Walz, D-Minn. Not only has she won all three of her Senate races by double digits, Klobuchar has also outperformed fellow Democrats on the ticket every time, showing just how broad her base of support is. 

The Democratic Party retook the House of Representatives in 2018 largely by running moderate candidates, particularly moderate women, in swing districts across the country. While much of the party’s energy and focus is on the progressive wing, it is important to remember the critical role that these newly-elected female members of Congress serve. Democrats must ensure that their nominee isn’t so far to the left that it costs them seats in the House and risks their majority. 

One of Klobuchar’s advantages is that she exists between the moderate and progressive wings of the party and has implemented policies from both in her campaign. On the progressive end, she supports a $15 minimum wage, is a cosponsor of the Green New Deal and will allow for importation of prescription drugs from countries like Canada. On the other hand, Klobuchar supports public option plan to build on the Affordable Care Act rather than "Medicare for All." 

If she is to become the candidate that moderate voters flock behind to stop Sanders, there are likely some things Klobuchar will have to explain.

For example, there has been a lot of media coverage around Buttigieg’s poor polling with nonwhite voters. Klobuchar, however, polls just as poorly, if not worse, than Buttigieg with voters of color. She also faces multiple allegations of abuse from former employees, including reports of her throwing office supplies in the direction of aides and asking low-level staff members to perform tasks like doing her dishes, which may actually violate Senate ethics rules. 

Klobuchar is also beginning to face criticism over the case she built as Hennepin County attorney against Myon Burrel, who was arrested for the murder of 11-year-old Tyesha Edwards in 2002. A recent investigation by the Associated Press uncovered serious inconsistencies in the case and a lack of forensic evidence, and multiple racial justice organizations in Minnesota, including Minneapolis NAACP and Black Lives Matter Twin Cities, have since called on Klobuchar to suspend her presidential campaign. 

Due to her relatively low polling, Klobuchar has largely avoided scrutiny over these issues, but, like all serious candidates, she deserves a chance to defend her record in a widely publicized setting. 

Nevertheless, if Democrats want a candidate that will draw support from moderates, and perhaps even some Republicans, without completely alienating the progressive wing of the party, they should look no further than Klobuchar.

Jerrett Alexander (he/him) is a freshman studying international relations and environmental sustainability. He currently sits on the Bloomington Commission on Sustainability.

Like what you're reading? Support independent, award-winning college journalism on this site. Donate here.

Powered by Solutions by The State News
All Content © 2023 Indiana Daily Student