While you may not hear the name Amy Klobuchar in the talk of frontrunners in the race for the 2020 presidency, the Democratic senator from Minnesota has seen her fair share of politics.
The race for the White House in 2020 is rapidly heating up, and the Democratic field is among the most diverse and schismatic group in recent memory. While you may not hear the name Amy Klobuchar in the talk of frontrunners in the race for the 2020 presidency, the Democratic senator from Minnesota has seen her fair share of politics.
Klobuchar was born in Plymouth, Minnesota in 1960 and grew up in a suburb of the twin cities. The daughter of a newspaper columnist and an elementary school teacher, Klobuchar graduated as the valedictorian of her high school class and later attended Yale University. She graduated magna cum laude from Yale in 1982 and earned her law degree from the University of Chicago three years later.
Her first encounter in politics saw her serve as a legal adviser to former vice president Walter Mondale, who urged her to consider a career in politics. Klobuchar became the elected attorney for Hennepin County, Minnesota in 1998 and held the office until 2006.Then, in 2007, Klobuchar became the first female senator from Minnesota. She has won reelection in both 2012 and 2018. During her time in the Senate, Klobuchar has pushed for increased funding for science, technology, engineering, and mathematics education. In addition, Klobuchar has been influential in a multitude of farm bills and helped revised the Senate’s ethics rules. In 2019, Klobuchar announced her candidacy for the 2020 presidential election.
Klobuchar’s presidential platform largely falls along Democratic traditions. In the case of health care, Klobuchar does not endorse the Medicare for All plan. Rather, Klobuchar supports lowering the Medicare eligibility age to 55 and even co-sponsored a bill that would allow people to buy into Medicare and Medicaid at a more sensible price through the creation of an expanded public option. Klobuchar has also advocated for legislation that would lower the cost of prescription drugs.
On immigration, Klobuchar voted for a piece of legislation in 2013 to provide undocumented immigrants withouth criminal records with a path to citizenship and allocate more funding for border security while increasing the accessibility of skillls-based visas. In addition, Klobuchar believes in the reformation of Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE).
While Klobuchar does not support free college for all, she does advocate for reducing student loan debt and other options to make college education more affordable. She also favors expanding access to vocational and technical training programs.
On gun control, Klobuchar, while recognizing 2nd Amendment rights, supports universal background checks, Extreme Risk Orders (which allow law enforcement to disarm perceived threats), and the banning of assault rifles.
She supports raising the minimum wage to $15, as well as promoting small businesses by expanding export markets for US goods and decreasing red tape and cumbersome burdens. Klobuchar also recently announced a $1 trillion dollar infrastructure plan that she says will create thousands of well paying jobs.
Regarding climate change, Klobuchar does not support the Green New Deal, saying it is aspirational rather than practical. However, if elected, she would have the US rejoin the Paris Accords, the international agreement attempting to reduce greenhouse gas emissions while increasing the output from renewable energy sources. She has proposed a $1 trillion energy infrastructure package to aid in the transition to clean energy. She has also supported putting a price on carbon.
In the tech sector, Klobuchar has helped expand broadband internet to rural areas, but has also introduced legislation aimed at more staunch regulation of tech companies. In addition, she supports the limitations placed on big firms in regards to mergers and acquisitions in order to prevent monopolies within the tech industry.
Despite her extensive education and popularity within her home state of Minnesota, Klobuchar is still far from being considered a frontrunner in the Democratic race for the 2020 presidency.
The New York Times reports that Klobuchar has a national polling average of around 2% -- 26 percentage points behind the leader Joe Biden and 13 percentage points behind second place Bernie Sanders. In addition, Klobuchar has accumulated around $9 million from individual contributions, while more high-profile candidates like Pete Buttgieg and Bernie Sanders have each collected more than $30 million.
Losing not just the monetary battle, Klobuchar is also trailing in the race for news attention. Among the 20 Democratice candidates still in the hunt for the nomination, Klobuchar ranks 11th in weekly news coverage.
Her rallying cry in her presidential run is that she is the candidate who can “get things done”, but news coverage from the right suggests that what she’s getting done is of mediocre importance. The Star Tribune reports that Minnesota Republicans have dubbed Klobuchar the “senator of small things.” In addition, Preya Samsundar, a spokeswoman for the Republican National Committee said, “She always tried to avoid anything controversial. But if a dog dies on an airplane, she’s the first one to step up.”
Contrarily, left-leaning sources, like Pennsylvania newspaper Intelligencer, make the case that Klobuchar’s moderate and practical agenda make her a viable candidate for many middle of the line voters. If she can catch a few “breaks and takes full advantage of them, Klobuchar might get a look as a potential nominee who is strong but not shout-y, smart but relatable.” However, the Intelligencer later added that Klobuchar must make a “better and more powerful impression” now if she wants a shot at the Democratic nomination.
Klobuchar was on stage for the first and second Democratic debates and will also be featured on stage for the third debate in September. In order to qualify for the debate, candidates must meet a polling threshold of at least 2% in four polls and have at least 130,000 unique donors. Therefore, of the 20 Democratic candidates still in the running, eight have currently qualified for the third debate, including Klobuchar, Joe Biden, Cory Booker, Pete Buttgieg, Kamala Harris, Beto O’Rourke, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. The other candidates have until August 28th to meet the necessary requirements to be featured on stage for the third Democratic debate in September.