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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 BidenFive examples of media's sycophancy for Biden on inauguration week Drastic measures for drastic times — caregiver need mobile health apps Boycott sham impeachment MORE, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersBoycott sham impeachment Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Sanders: Senate may use budget reconciliation to pass Biden agenda MORE (I-Vt.), former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Biden's crisis agenda hits headwinds Biden signs order to require masks on planes and public transportation Senators vet Buttigieg to run Transportation Department MORE, Sen. Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenCancel culture comes for the moderates Biden expands on Obama ethics pledge Student loan forgiveness would be windfall for dentists, doctors and lawyers MORE (D-Mass.) and Sen. Amy KlobucharAmy KlobucharSenators spar over validity of Trump impeachment trial Sunday shows - Biden agenda, Trump impeachment trial dominate Klobuchar says Senate impeachment trial of former official is constitutional: 'We have precedent' MORE (D-Minn.).

Today, 28 days before the Iowa caucuses, nobody knows who the Democratic nominee will be. It won’t be Cory BookerCory BookerDemocrats seek answers on impact of Russian cyberattack on Justice Department, Courts Senate confirms Biden's intel chief, giving him first Cabinet official Booker brings girlfriend, actress Rosario Dawson, to inauguration MORE, Marianne WilliamsonMarianne WilliamsonMarianne Williamson discusses America's "soulless ethos" Marianne Williamson discusses speaking at People's Party Convention Fewer people watched opening night of Democratic convention compared to 2016 MORE, Tom SteyerTom SteyerOn The Trail: The political losers of 2020 Biden Cabinet picks largely unify Democrats — so far Late donor surges push election spending projections to new heights MORE, Andrew YangAndrew YangYang to quarantine after campaign staffer tests positive for COVID-19 Andrew Yang sparks Twitter uproar with pro-bodega video Yang announces run for New York City mayor MORE or Tulsi GabbardTulsi GabbardTulsi Gabbard blasts new House rules on gender neutral language as 'height of hypocrisy' A vaccine, a Burrito and more: 7 lighter, memorable moments from 2020 Growing number of House Republicans warm to proxy voting MORE. It won’t be outlier Michael BloombergMichael BloombergEverytown calls on Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene to resign Biden selects Gina Raimondo for Commerce chief: reports 7 surprise moments from a tumultuous year in politics 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 TrumpMore than two-thirds of Americans approve of Biden's coronavirus response: poll Sarah Huckabee Sanders to run for governor Mexico's president tests positive for COVID-19 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 FrankenHarrison seen as front-runner to take over DNC at crucial moment The Hill's Morning Report - Presented by the UAE Embassy in Washington, DC - Trump, Biden clash over transition holdup, pandemic plans The Hill's Morning Report - Fearing defeat, Trump claims 'illegal' ballots 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.”