It’s Time for Amy Klobuchar to Drop Out

 Amy Klobuchar just finished fifth in the Iowa caucuses with 12.3 percent of the vote. A near nonfactor in the presidential race until December, Klobuchar could certainly spin such a performance as a victory. But a more apt term for her performance would be pre-defeat. She’s spent more time in Iowa — her downstairs neighbor — than in every other state combined. That’s left little time for campaigning anywhere else. The next primaries will take place in the notably more progressive New Hampshire and Nevada, then South Carolina, where Joe Biden’s dominance over the moderate lane will likely block her. After that comes the 46 states where only Michael Bloomberg — another moderate in the race — has advertised. Things are only going downhill for Klobuchar. She should take her exit now — before she embarrasses herself.

Klobuchar might have exceeded expectations, but there’s just not enough space in the moderate lane for her. With Bloomberg to the right, Biden and Tom Steyer to the very near left, and Pete Buttigieg in the progressive-moderate lane, Klobuchar has been unable to diversify herself. Her positions are almost exactly the same as Biden’s, but she’s far less electable. She’s a Midwesterner, like Buttigieg, but she’s far less exciting.

It’s easy to see this lack of excitement translated into numbers. Without signature proposals or a plan to address the crises in Washington, Klobuchar has been unable to inspire donations that make her competitive. She could have looked to fellow moderate John Hickenlooper, who dropped out when he ran out of campaign money. Instead, Klobuchar took hundreds of thousands of dollars from wealthy corporations like Morgan Stanley and Delta Airlines. Furthermore, the top four candidates have all raised more money than Klobuchar by at least 200 percent.

But Klobuchar’s money shortage is a symptom of her problems, not the cause. The four candidates ahead of her in fundraising all have inspiring policy plans and impressive resumes. Those resumes are free of major scandals — well, except for Elizabeth Warren’s. Klobuchar’s record, by contrast, lacks public salience, and, as she’s making the case that she should be President, is weaker than it’s ever been. This term, she has missed nearly 40 percent of all the Senate votes, making her the fifth most absent member of the Senate. Klobuchar’s inability to juggle responsibilities of governance raises concerns about her performance — and her viability as a candidate.

These concerns are enhanced by Klobuchar’s poor record. Her best-known achievement, though many at Oberlin might appreciate it, is an aggressive questioning of Brett Kavanaugh. A far-left candidate like Warren could get away with this record of poor performance since Warren isn’t trying to reach out to swing voters. It’s a liability for a candidate trying to reach across the aisle as a moderate. Meanwhile, her support for additional border wall funding, which she has not often discussed, is a deal-breaker for progressives. 

So, what does Klobuchar have going for her? She built her campaign on an ethos of being, as she’s said, “midwestern nice.” Yet, soon after she announced her campaign, the news broke that Klobuchar had been abusing her staff. As a report by the Intelligencer states, “Klobuchar consistently rebuked her staff in all caps, often over minor mistakes and at odd hours, frequently sending messages between 1 a.m. and 4 a.m. The Senator would reportedly become angry if a staffer did not charge her iPad or if they used staples instead of paper clips.” 

A Senate staffer recounted the following interaction with one of Klobuchar’s poor employees: 

“I’m supposed to tell you,” she said, with a look of terror on her face, “Senator Klobuchar is late today because I am bad at my job.”

In addition to Klobuchar’s unhinged late-night emails and verbal abuse that “regularly left employees in tears,” Klobuchar has thrown various office supplies at her own staff in anger. Depending on the account, she’s thrown telephones, notebooks, binders, and possibly even staplers. Not exactly “midwestern nice.”

Klobuchar remains unrepentant about her abuse, relentlessly focusing on the presidency, where she would inevitably traumatize many more employees. No abuser deserves that power. 

Beyond ripping off her facade of kindness, the alleged abuse raises serious concerns about her temperament. If Amy Klobuchar flies off the handle for minor errors and throws staplers at her own staff, can she really make the case that we should trust her with nuclear weapons?

Amy Klobuchar is unengaging, uninspiring, uncharismatic, unelectable, and unfit for office. Earlier in this primary, she asked an audience to cheer for her. So, please clap, everyone. Give the Senator from Minnesota a standing ovation at her concession speech. And when you’re done clapping for Klobuchar, go find a candidate with the temperament and integrity to lead our country. Go find a candidate who understands respect, dignity, and what time to go to bed. Go find a candidate who can beat Donald Trump instead of being too much like him.