With all the hype around Democratic candidates throwing their hats into the ring for president, I’ll give my choices for various races this week. I’m not saying I won’t change my mind as I get more information about people, but for now, I’ll go through a couple of my choices this week.
I like Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN) for president. She’s been a progressive populist in the Senate and a voice of reason. I’ve always liked her but worried that she lacked the charisma to actually win the presidency in the Age of Trump. Her performance during the Kavanaugh hearings put those fears to rest.
Turns out that Klobuchar is not only a good speaker, but she comes across as the perfect antidote to Trump. She’s not showy but she’s thoughtful and confident. In debates with the president, she will almost certainly look like the adult in the room.
In addition, she’s from a swing state with a large rural population. She just won re-election by a huge margin. She knows how to appeal to the white working class voters that Democrats will need to win states like North Carolina, Pennsylvania and Ohio. From what I can tell, she’s more pragmatist than ideologue. Right now, we need somebody who has broad appeal and can lead us away from division wrought by Trump.
Of the candidates who have announce so far, she seems the most prepared with the least baggage. Sen. Elizabeth Warren brings as much antipathy as support to the process. Sen. Kamala Harris is not even halfway through her first term and is a little too opportunistic and ambitious for my tastes. Julian Castro is appealing but I suspect he’ll have difficulty getting the traction he needs to make it through the primary process. He seems more like VP material to me.
In the next tier of announced candidates, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii is a flake. I don’t know much Governor Jay Inslee of Washington and don’t see him getting off the ground, though who knows? Richard Ojeda just lost a Congressional seat in West Virginia and is/was in the state legislature. I don’t see him getting off the ground, either. Some Congressman from New York named Andrew Yang is also running. If you haven’t distinguished yourself enough in Congress to be known outside of your home state, you’re probably not going anywhere.
I hope Klobuchar gets in. I think she’s exactly the type of candidate we need at this time. She doesn’t come off as overly ambitious or overly divisive. She’s got a solid track record in the US Senate and she would be a great contrast to Trump. She’s been elected in a state that reflects the nation—one with a highly diverse urban population and a more white, working class rural population that’s been dependent on manufacturing and farming.
Thomas Mills is the founder and publisher of PoliticsNC.com. Before beginning PoliticsNC, Thomas spent twenty years as a political and public affairs consultant. Learn more >