Why Amy Klobuchar would win by subtraction

The 2020 Democrat is the candidate of Republicans staying home

Amy Klobuchar.
(Image credit: Illustrated | Drew Angerer/Getty Images)

Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) has been waiting for her moment for nearly a year. On paper, she has always looked like a winner: a middle class daughter of the heartland who has won every election in which she competed, and who consistently ran ahead of her party in a crucial Midwestern swing state. But she never caught fire. Vice President Joe Biden dominated the moderate "lane" for most of the campaign, while other candidates — Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Pete Buttigieg — generated more personal enthusiasm. Eventually, she came to be seen as the scold of the campaign, patiently explaining to the voters why they can't have nice things.

That's finally changing — perhaps too late, but just possibly not. Biden's and Warren's campaigns are stumbling, and Buttigieg is getting a closer and more skeptical look. Klobuchar's closing argument in the New Hampshire debate clearly touched a chord, and the polls have moved significantly her way: both the Suffolk University and Emerson College polls — the only ones that sampled voters immediately before and after the debates — both have Klobuchar surging to 14 percent and third place, ahead of both Warren and Biden and nipping at Buttigieg's heels.

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Noah Millman

Noah Millman is a screenwriter and filmmaker, a political columnist and a critic. From 2012 through 2017 he was a senior editor and featured blogger at The American Conservative. His work has also appeared in The New York Times Book Review, Politico, USA Today, The New Republic, The Weekly Standard, Foreign Policy, Modern Age, First Things, and the Jewish Review of Books, among other publications. Noah lives in Brooklyn with his wife and son.