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Klobuchar deserves her 'Klomentum'. She's been unfairly overlooked | Lloyd Green | Opinion

Amy Klobuchar’s third place New Hampshire finish is newsworthy. Even if Klobuchar loses her bid for the nomination, she could well be the Democrat’s vice-presidential nominee.

In Iowa and again in New Hampshire, Klobuchar beat expectations. Last week, she emerged from the chaos of the Iowa caucuses with a double-digit fifth-place finish. Then in New Hampshire, Minnesota’s senior senator came in third behind Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg. She also left Elizabeth Warren’s campaign reeling and Joe Biden’s political career on a respirator, no small achievement.

Said differently, there’s definitely a place for midwest nice. Yet as the campaign battlegrounds shift to Nevada, South Carolina and then Super Tuesday on 3 March, the unanswered question is how far Klobuchar can go, particularly in America’s more diverse precincts. The demographics of the Hawkeye and Granite States are exceptions, not the rule, and Klobuchar has a lot of ground to make up.

For the moment, Klobuchar remains in single digits nationally, has earned less than a handful of delegates, and lacks the resources and name recognition of Sanders, Buttigieg and Mike Bloomberg. How, when and where she upends the campaign chess board remain to be seen.

Regardless it would be a mistake to write off Klobuchar. Even if Klobuchar fails to snag the presidential nomination, she has earned the right to be considered for the No 2 slot. Endurance matters, campaigns can be marathons, and here consolation prizes are coveted.

In contrast to Klobuchar, Kamala Harris, Kirsten Gillibrand and Steve Bullock never even made it into the new year. Julián Castro and Cory Booker called it quits a month ago, and the Yang Gang and Michael Bennet are done. Klobuchar has demonstrated staying power. Her candidacy is neither whim nor gimmick.

Beyond that, when it comes to picking a vice-president winning isn’t everything. Ask Barack Obama and Biden, they can both tell you.

In 2008 Obama tapped Biden as his running mate despite Biden’s having dropped out of the race after running fifth in Iowa – without having captured a single delegate. Already, Klobuchar has accomplished more than that.

So what would Klobuchar bring to a national ticket? How about chops, biography and demeanor. Beyond that, as a former prosecutor and a three-term senator she possesses age, experience and popularity.

People in her home state like her. She has never lost a race. By the numbers, Klobuchar is among the Senate’s most popular members unlike Mitch McConnell, Susan Collins, Lisa Murkowski and Elizabeth Warren who have won re-election but fail to garner sustained appreciation among their own constituents.

Another plus, Klobuchar has demonstrated the capacity to appeal to independents and voters without four-year college degrees. In 2018, Klobuchar won re-election by better than three-to-two, comfortably led among independents, garnered the lion’s share of white working-class votes, and even ran well in rural Minnesota. For Democrats all that is essential as the midwest again looms as a battleground.

Indeed pitted against Hillary Clinton, Donald Trump came within two points of capturing the North Star state, and now presides over a healthy economy. Against this backdrop, Klobuchar stands to make a real difference on election night.

As for her personal story, a highly relevant portion emerged during Brett Kavanaugh’s supreme court confirmation hearings. There, in response to a question posed by the senator, Kavanaugh lost his temper and asked if Klobuchar had ever blacked out when drunk. At that point, Klobuchar, a Yale and University of Chicago graduate, had already discussed her own father’s alcoholism. Apparently, Kavanaugh either didn’t hear or care.

Looking back, the exchange was the Democratic members’ most effective and memorable moment. No grandstanding, just plain human drama. Klobuchar never compared herself to Spartacus, she didn’t need to.

Interestingly, Klobuchar, who is pro-choice and a member of the liberal United Church of Christ, appears ready to reach across to a pro-life voters, a less frequent occurrence as abortion and religion continue to define America’s deepening political divide. For the record, Klobuchar is part of the Senate’s adoption caucus. Not surprisingly, Klobuchar led in New Hampshire among those who worship weekly.

As the Democrats forge ahead, Klobuchar has a real shot at winning the Minnesota primary three weeks from now. One would expect her to. More than that, she may also find herself locking horns with Mike Pence come the fall. Regardless, we haven’t seen the last of her.

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