I believe there’s a market among Democrats for a presidential candidate who is not radical, who is not old and frequently confused, and who is not a straight white male. Who might that candidate be?
It might have been Kamala Harris. However, she opted not to fill that lane. Now, she’s an ex-candidate for president.
It might be Pete Buttigieg, except it’s not so clear that he’s non-radical. Buttigieg seemingly would like to be many things to many people, and at times has sounded like a rad.
Amy Klobuchar is next in line after Harris and Buttigieg. Unlike those two, she knew who she is — or at least who she wanted to come across as being. Klobuchar has coveted the non-radical lane from the beginning and has occupied it without deviation.
As a result, she is surging in Iowa. Well, not exactly surging. The most recent survey in Real Clear Politics, by Emerson, has her in fifth place with 10 percent support. However, that’s a big step up for Klobuchar. Two months ago, Emerson had her at 1 percent.
This Washington Post article touts Klobuchar’s Iowa prospects. It quotes a county chairman who supports Elizabeth Warren as saying: “If I had to make a bet on the candidate most likely to have a late breakout into the top tier in Iowa, it would be Amy.”
Unfortunately for Klobuchar, a late breakout into the top tier in Iowa might not be enough. Coming from the neighboring state of Minnesota, Klobuchar has a kind of home field advantage. If she doesn’t win in Iowa, it may be easy to write off her showing.
My sense is that Klobuchar needs to finish ahead of Buttigieg in Iowa. If she loses to one of the two main rads — Sanders or Warren — and/or to Biden, she won’t have been beaten in her lane. But if Buttigieg finishes ahead of her, she will have been.
Beating a small city Indiana mayor in Iowa shouldn’t be too much to ask of a long-serving Senator from a neighboring state. But even in the recent Emerson poll, Klobuchar trailed Buttigieg by 8 points.