There are many ways that Amy Klobuchar’s campaign ends, the least likely of which is that the Senator from Minnesota becomes president. Despite that, the race for president seems to have the most upside for Klobuchar in contrast to the remainder of the field. Sanders is running for president again, this is Biden’s last stand, Pete Buttigieg becomes a national name but in a state where his chances to grow are narrow, and Warren seems unlikely to run again.
The recent Klobucharge has placed the Senator on the minds of many Washington elites – she has managed to raise her profile via a couple of strong debate performances without pulling away from her core values as classic liberal from the Midwest. Klobuchar is slated to finish New Hampshire in a strong position even if she is fourth – third would be a victory of epic proportions. Meanwhile, Tuesday represents a kind of existential threat for Warren as she has the potential to finish below third with few prospects before Super Tuesday which at least includes her home state.
Klobuchar has virtually no support in Nevada and South Carolina; it is possible she may not even try to compete in these states given that she would be troubled to cross the 15% threshold for delegates there. But, Super Tuesday holds her home state of Minnesota which might be an opportunity for her to finish with a win before bowing out.
Post-presidential campaign political life holds multiple options for Klobuchar. Her experience working with Republicans contrasts well with her kind of “Knives Out” version of politics that she has leveled against other members of the Democratic presidential field. Klobuchar is the only person who seems to be running a presidential race state by state rather than a national campaign – certainly out of necessity, but, the benefit has been a battle at each stage that is tailored to the state and kind of debate presence that understands each moment might her last.
So, Klobuchar could easily make a strong vice president for candidates doubling down on the Midwest as well as the suburbs. Despite her needling, Buttigieg-Klobuchar would be formidable in Wisconsin, Michigan, and Pennsylvania (as well as put a lock on Minnesota which almost went red in 2016). But, Klobuchar’s run here might not be her last – particularly if the Democrats nominate Sanders and Sanders loses. Of course, the Sanders loss in the general would cause a fracture of the Democratic party worthy of its own post.
However, Klobuchar has evinced the strength, the experience, and, yes, the temerity to potentially be the first female majority or minority leader in the history of the United States Senate. Given her legal experience and her even-handedness in SCOTUS hearings (she actually received an apology from Kavanaugh), she could even be a dark horse candidate for Supreme Court (which she was during the Obama Administration). For now, Klobuchar actually seems like she’s having fun and really cannot lose – even if she gets fifth place, more Democrats know her than ever before and even the Sanders folks seem to like her for engaging Buttigieg.
On brand, Klobuchar finds herself in the middle of it all.