Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy

Bill Press: Don't forget about Amy
© Getty Images

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 BidenThe Hill's Campaign Report: Runoff elections in Texas, Alabama set for Tuesday Biden campaign slams White House attacks on Fauci as 'disgusting' Biden lets Trump be Trump MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersOVERNIGHT ENERGY: EPA declines to tighten smog standards amid pressure from green groups | Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects| Russian mining giant reports another fuel spill in Arctic Biden lets Trump be Trump Democrats split on Trump plan to use development funds for nuclear projects MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Biden campaign hires top cybersecurity officials to defend against threats Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Trump defends Roger Stone move: He was target of 'Witch Hunt' Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharThe Hill's Coronavirus Report: Fauci says focus should be on pausing reopenings rather than reverting to shutdowns; WHO director pleads for international unity in pandemic response State election officials warn budget cuts could lead to November chaos Biden strikes populist tone in blistering rebuke of Trump, Wall Street 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 BookerIn politics, as in baseball, it ain't over till it's over Democrats blast Trump for commuting Roger Stone: 'The most corrupt president in history' Koch-backed group urges Senate to oppose 'bailouts' of states in new ads MORE, Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson touts endorsements for progressive congressional candidates The Hill's 12:30 Report: Warren becomes latest 2020 rival to back Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Biden looks to stretch lead in Tuesday contests MORE, Tom SteyerTom SteyerThe Hill's Campaign Report: Jacksonville mandates face coverings as GOP convention approaches Steyer endorses Markey in Massachusetts Senate primary Celebrities fundraise for Markey ahead of Massachusetts Senate primary MORE, Andrew YangAndrew YangBiden campaign to take over 'Supernatural' star's Instagram for interview Hillicon Valley: Justice Department announces superseding indictment against WikiLeaks' Assange | Facebook ad boycott gains momentum | FBI sees spike in coronavirus-related cyber threats | Boston city government bans facial recognition technology The Hill's Campaign Report: Progressives feel momentum after primary night MORE or Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardFinancial firms facing serious hacking threat in COVID-19 era Gabbard drops defamation lawsuit against Clinton It's as if a Trump operative infiltrated the Democratic primary process MORE. It won’t be outlier Michael BloombergMichael BloombergWake up, America — see what's coming Bloomberg urges court to throw out lawsuit by former campaign staffers Former Obama Ebola czar Ron Klain says White House's bad decisions have put US behind many other nations on COVID-19; Fears of virus reemergence intensify 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 TrumpWayfair refutes QAnon-like conspiracy theory that it's trafficking children Stone rails against US justice system in first TV interview since Trump commuted his sentence Federal appeals court rules Trump admin can't withhold federal grants from California sanctuary cities 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.

ADVERTISEMENT

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 FrankenPolitical world mourns loss of comedian Jerry Stiller Maher to Tara Reade on timing of sexual assault allegation: 'Why wait until Biden is our only hope?' Democrats begin to confront Biden allegations 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.”