Opinion: Why a Biden-Klobuchar ticket can beat Trump

Editor’s note: Like others, I think a Biden-Klobuchar ticket could be a powerful combination. Henry Olsen, a Washington Post columnist and senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, makes the case. One drawback, however: It’s hard to fit “Biden-Klobuchar” on a bumper sticker. (Perhaps Joe & Amy would suffice). Olsen’s column is here:

“There’s a lot of talk that former vice president Joe Biden should pick a progressive or a person of color for his running mate if he does become the nominee. That’s an understandable and conventional view, but it’s wrong. He should instead emulate Bill Clinton’s 1992 campaign and pick someone with a similar appeal to his own: Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.),” Henry Olsen, a senior fellow at the Ethics and Public Policy Center, writes in the Washington Post.

“Clinton faced a challenge similar to that which Biden would face: how to win back blue-collar Democrats who had defected to the Republicans. He won the nomination by campaigning as a new type of Democrat — someone who shared the party’s traditional support for a strong government while recognizing that rising crime and welfare abuse were real problems. Biden’s calling card is that he can win back the same type of voters who defected to back Donald Trump in 2016, enabling Democrats to reclaim some of the former ‘blue wall’ states in the Upper Midwest whose surprise defection elected Trump.

“Klobuchar would do for Biden what Al Gore of Tennessee did for Clinton. Like Biden, she is a traditional center-left Democrat who builds bridges rather than walls. She is comfortable campaigning in moderate tones while being unafraid to dust it up with Republicans and highlight their differences. As she often said when she was a presidential candidate, she’s carried red and blue areas of her home state with ease in three straight elections. Blue-collar former Democrats won’t be scared by her, and she would reinforce Biden’s message of national healing.

“She brings another advantage to Biden that Gore could not bring to Clinton. As a woman, she would have distinct appeal to blue-collar women, who are likelier to switch back from Trump than blue-collar men. She also has appeal for educated suburban women, another key Democratic constituency, as a successful lawyer and professional. Keeping those demographics in line is essential to Democratic victory in the fall, and Klobuchar adds to Biden’s underlying appeal for them.AD

“Klobuchar’s relative youth and clear competence will also be strong assets for the septuagenarian Biden. His age and frequent verbal missteps will inevitably raise concerns that he might not be up to the job, or even that he might die or become incapacitated in office. The 59-year-old Klobuchar is of prime presidential age, and even her detractors will admit she knows the details of government inside and out. Unlike other possible picks, she could indisputably step into the Oval Office on day one.

“Picking someone to his left would allow Trump to attack Biden for being a closet socialist. Selecting Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) would clearly delight many progressives but would then worry suburban moderates. Picking progressive heartthrob Stacey Abrams, a former state legislative leader from Georgia and defeated gubernatorial candidate, would unite the party but send chills down the spines of swing voters. Virtually anyone with a consistent profile who could energize progressives would also scare moderates.”

The rest of the article is here.

Author: jeffpelline

Jeff Pelline is a veteran editor and award-winning journalist - in print and online. He is publisher of Sierra FoodWineArt magazine and its website SierraCulture.com. Jeff covered business and technology for The San Francisco Chronicle for 12 years, and he was a founding editor and Editor of CNET News for eight years, among other positions. Jeff has a bachelor's degree from UC Berkeley and a master's from Northwestern University. His hobbies include sailing, swimming, and trout fishing in the Sierra.

6 thoughts on “Opinion: Why a Biden-Klobuchar ticket can beat Trump”

  1. I have a long-standing and consistent record of being wrong in my predictions (I thought Reagan, a failed B-movie actor, and Trump, a NY con man, were delusional in thinking they could be prez!) so take the following with a bag of salt, but …

    In a center-left nation (based on polling on issues), ruled by a center-right oligarchy (based on the influence of money and finance), there is an emerging politics of resentment (a wave that brought faux populist con-man Trump to power).

    Another ne0-liberal (Biden) in the stripe of the Clintons (and even of Obama to some extent) will not be able to tap into to this wave of resentment as powerfully as a genuine and honest populist like Sanders.

    I’m afraid Trump will shred Biden in a way he could not Sanders, who taps into some of the same dissatisfaction and anxiety that brought our Crime Boss President to power.

    I will, of course, vote Democratic jo matter who the prez candidate is.

    And I worry that even expressing such pessimism is subversive of Democratic success, so I should probably shut-up right now.

    1. I gotta admit, though, that having a competent and honest woman like Klobuchar on the ticket would give it some excitement for a lot of progressives like me.

  2. Good analysis Don! I’ve come to think of politics in cooking terms. (An obvious passion of mine). The “guest” (AKA electorate) has a pretty bland palette — driven by marketing. The progressives always seem to want to over-season the dish (“Lots of cayenne, baby”), while the moderate Democrats are too timid and conventional with the spices (“I only use a pinch of Lawry’s seasoned salt.”). The choice of VP will be crucial for Biden — and I don’t think Sanders (Bernie, not the Colonel) would ever pick a moderate Democrat as his running mate. It’s going to be another close election!

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