Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy

Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy
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It’s like a sequel of the 1989 hit film “Honey, I Shrunk the Kids.” Except today we moan, “Honey, I Shrunk the Field of 2020 Democratic Candidates.” From the initial 24 wannabes to the five survivors who will take the stage Jan. 14 in Des Moines, Iowa, for the next debate: former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenFighting a virus with the wrong tools Trump bucks business on Defense Production Act Overnight Health Care — Presented by PCMA — US coronavirus cases hit 100,000 | Trump signs T stimulus package | Trump employs defense powers to force GM to make ventilators | New concerns over virus testing MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Overnight Energy: Court upholds Trump repeal of Obama fracking rule | Oil price drop threatens fracking boom | EPA eases rules on gasoline sales amid coronavirus The Hill's Campaign Report: Sanders pushes on in 2020 race MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegReuters poll finds Sanders cutting Biden national lead to single digits Biden says he'll adopt plans from Sanders, Warren Buttigieg guest-hosts for Jimmy Kimmel: 'I've got nothing else going on' MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharHillicon Valley: Apple rolls out coronavirus screening app, website | Pompeo urged to crack down on coronavirus misinformation from China | Senators push FTC on price gouging | Instacart workers threaten strike Democratic Senators urge FTC to prevent coronavirus price gouging Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men MORE (D-Minn.).

Today, 28 days before the Iowa caucuses, nobody knows who the Democratic nominee will be. It won’t be Cory BookerCory Anthony BookerLawmakers, labor leaders ramp up calls to use Defense Production Act Democratic senators call on FDA to drop restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men Amazon doubling overtime pay for warehouse workers MORE, Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonThe Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests Pelosi: 'I usually always cast my vote for a woman' Pelosi: 'We'll have a woman president' someday MORE, Tom SteyerTom SteyerProgressive advocates propose T 'green stimulus' plan Candidates want data privacy rules, except for their own campaigns Budowsky: Biden should pull together a 'dream team of rivals' MORE, Andrew YangAndrew YangSolving the coronavirus economic downturn — good psychology makes for good politics and policy Andrew Yang nonprofit to dole out checks to 500 households Senate GOP mulls forgivable loans to businesses to halt layoffs, bankruptcies MORE or Tulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard20 House Dems call on Trump to issue two-week, nationwide shelter-in-place order The Hill's Morning Report — ,000,000,000,000: GOP unveils historic US rescue effort Gillibrand endorses Biden for president MORE. It won’t be outlier Michael BloombergMichael BloombergFormer Bloomberg staffer seeks class-action lawsuit over layoffs Bloomberg spent over 0M on presidential campaign The Hill's Campaign Report: Officials in spotlight over coronavirus response MORE, either. It’s a safe bet it’ll be one of the final five — which has everybody guessing.

Most political strategists agree on one of three scenarios. One, despite uneasiness about his performance on the stump, voters stick with Biden as the most trusted, experienced, steady contrast with President TrumpDonald John TrumpTrump orders US troops back to active duty for coronavirus response Trump asserts power to decide info inspector general for stimulus gives Congress Fighting a virus with the wrong tools MORE. Two, voters still looking for a middle-of-the-road nominee but unsure about Biden flock to Buttigieg. Three, Democrats shuck tired, old, centrist, establishment politics for a daring, bold, new, progressive revolution led by Sanders or Warren. Most likely Sanders.

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Any one of those scenarios could happen. Each of the above have enjoyed their moment at the top of the pack. But there’s a fourth possibility nobody’s talking about: None of the above. Instead, Democratic voters turn to the candidate who’s excelled in the last few debates and, against the odds, has maintained a strong, steady, top-tier position in the primary ever since she launched her campaign, outside, in the middle of a blizzard. Why not Amy?

Given that the primary motive of voters in the Democratic primary is not the idealistic measure “Which one do I like the most?” but the more pragmatic “Which one has the best chance of beating Donald Trump?” Sen. Amy Klobuchar has a lot going for her. She’s smart. She’s funny. She’s a former prosecutor. She’s from flyover country. She’s been elected three times, statewide, in Minnesota, a must-win state for Democrats, the last time by a 24-point margin. She’s built an impressive 14-year record in the U.S. Senate. She raised $11.4 million in fourth quarter 2019. And she’s a woman. 

Yes, Klobuchar lacks the foreign policy experience of Joe Biden, but she holds the electoral and legislative experience, as she delights in pointing out, that makes fellow-centrist Buttigieg look like a Cub Scout. And she personifies a realistic, down-home, reach-across-the-aisle, let’s-get-things-done approach to problem-solving that makes Warren look like a brick wall.

As a presidential candidate, Klobuchar has at least two more things going for her. One, she’s quick on her feet. Most political reporters I interviewed believe that, even though called on less often than the front-runners, she won the last two debates. She deflated both Sanders and Warren by pointing out that she knew how to be both “progressive,” and “practical,” at the same time. And she dismissed Buttigieg as a “local official,” who couldn’t get elected chairman of the Democratic National Committee and didn’t even belong on the same stage as those with a combined “100 years of experience.”

Unlike other candidates, Klobuchar also has a wicked sense of humor. Former President Obama once said she was even funnier than Minnesota’s then-junior senator, “Saturday Night Live” comic Al FrankenAlan (Al) Stuart FrankenAl Franken blasts Susan Collins: She'll let Trump 'get away with anything' Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy Key moments in the 2020 Democratic presidential race so far MORE. Even though we’ve heard it 25 times, it’s still funny to hear her tell how, as a first-time candidate, she raised $17,000 by cold-calling former boyfriends.

Please. This is not an endorsement. This is simply to say: In handicapping the Democratic primary, don’t forget about Amy Klobuchar.

Press is host of “The Bill Press Pod.” He is author of “From the Left: A Life in the Crossfire.”