Other Opinion: Klobuchar delivered on her promise
A headline on a News Tribune editorial 13 months ago could be repeated now: “Klobuchar just what election needed.”
Then, Minnesota’s own U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar had announced, in a driving snow, that she had joined the crowded field seeking the Democrats’ nomination for president and the chance to dethrone Republican President Donald Trump. Her announcement was “a welcome and decidedly positive turn,” our editorial proclaimed.
The headline can be repeated now in the wake of the news that Klobuchar is ending her campaign and endorsing former Vice President Joe Biden. Curiously, her decision to bow out came just a day before her home state had the chance to vote for her in a primary as part of Super Tuesday.
Whether or not Klobuchar ends up on a ticket as a vice presidential candidate or simply returns to representing Minnesota’s interests in Washington. D.C, this can be emphatically stated: She more than lived up to everything her candidacy promised to bring to presidential politics.
Her reputation as a moderate who’s inclusive and cooperative — as well as her record of working with Republicans, her willingness to consider differing viewpoints, and her ability to compromise without compromising herself or her Minnesota roots or values — all helped to set a positive tone for a race that at times still turned ugly. Klobuchar's candidacy provided hope for civility that so often is lacking and the chance for a focus on real issues, something voters crave.
Klobuchar was a formidable candidate over the past year-plus with a toughness stemming from her hardscrabble roots in Northeastern Minnesota and her work as the top prosecutor in Minnesota's most urban county. Her grandfather worked in the mines in Ely most of his life, and she was Hennepin County attorney from 1999 until 2006.
Despite a surprisingly strong third-place finish in New Hampshire, Klobuchar lagged behind other moderate Democratic hopefuls in the primaries and “was often seen as a candidate siphoning support,” as the New York Times reported Monday.
“Though her campaign received a much-needed influx of cash after New Hampshire — $12 million in just over a week — it proved too little, too late for the campaign to rapidly scale up and compete with her better funded and better organized rivals,” the Times said.
Perhaps a sign of the end, Klobuchar canceled a rally in St. Louis Park, Minnesota, Sunday after Black Lives Matter members and others took over her stage. There had been calls for her to leave the race over her handling of a case involving a black man convicted of murder back when she was the Hennepin County attorney. She didn’t have a good response to criticism of her handling of the case during at least one of the Democratic debates.
To her credit, Klobuchar’s “calm but prosecutorial demeanor mixed with a dry sense of humor … slowly built momentum through consecutive debate performances, seeing immediate spikes in cash and volunteers,” the Times wrote in praise.
In an era of extremism and polarization, Klobuchar, despite being little known nationally, enriched rather than infuriated the race for the Democratic nomination. Her participation and ability to spark and to lead civil conversations on real issues, both during the campaign and outside of it, can be appreciated and applauded in Minnesota and across the nation.