A familiar name and even a family friend of students at Edina High School, Amy Klobuchar has made national headlines following the announcement of her presidential candidacy. On Feb. 10, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar announced her bid for the 2020 presidential election at Boom Island Park to thousands of Minnesotans gathered in the snowy weather. Elected as the first woman to represent Minnesota in the United States Senate in 2006, Klobuchar has since served as a Democratic Senator and won reelection in the 2012 and 2018 midterm elections.
Klobuchar’s slogan is “Amy for America,” because she claims to be “tired of divisive politics.” At EHS, students and teachers have begun weighing in on her campaign.“[Her claim] could help because she can capture the ideological middle, and in those states that have open primaries, you could consider it to be an appeal for moderate Republicans to come across the line and vote in the Democratic primaries,” AP United States Government and Politics teacher Jason Dockter said.
In light of the upcoming election, students at EHS have already started to form their own opinions about the upcoming presidential race. “I think that the qualities that make a good president is being able to represent the people of the United States while also pushing for ideas as opposed to maintaining the status quo,” sophomore Matt Kumar-Montei said. “I think that the [president] has to be someone who is able to make decisions with the right intentions while also being able to handle situations in a way that is fair,” junior Zach Shumway said.
For Klobuchar, people are beginning to think about the factors that may contribute to her chances of the winning or losing the Democratic nomination. “Essentially, Senator Klobuchar has a pretty good chance at capturing the ideological middle of the Democratic party, but we all know that that’s not who votes in the Democratic caucuses and primaries,” Dockter said.
After embarking on her campaign trail across the US following her candidacy announcement, Klobuchar has since campaigned in states like Iowa and New Hampshire. “She kind of has a very narrow road and she needs to come out of the gates well in Iowa and New Hampshire and then head into South Carolina, but that would be a test for her because she doesn’t really have much name recognition outside [of] the midwest,” Dockter said.
Despite only recently announcing her presidential candidacy, Klobuchar has faced multiple controversies. Reports from documents and emails have surfaced, as reported in numerous news outlets, accusing Klobuchar of allegedly mistreating her staff. “She was constantly lighting new fires,” a former staffer of Klobuchar’s said in an interview conducted by the Huffington Post. Vox has also reported on ex-staffers who have shared stories of Klobuchar throwing a binder onto a chair, consequently hitting a bystander.
Nonetheless, Klobuchar’s candidacy has drawn national attention to Minnesota since former governor Tim Pawlenty’s presidential campaign in 2012 for the Republican nomination. “[Klobuchar’s candidacy] could bring more media attention to Minnesota, and more media attention could mean more revenue as far as people coming to visit the state,” Dockter said.
For students in Minnesota, Klobuchar’s candidacy runs very close to home. As a Minnesota native, Klobuchar attended Wayzata High School, Yale University, and the University of Chicago Law School. In an Instagram poll conducted by Zephyrus, 77% of respondents said that they support Amy Klobuchar’s 2020 presidential run while 23% said that they do not. “She’s gotten a lot done in Minnesota which is impressive and good. If she were given the nomination, I would definitely lean my vote towards her over the Republican candidate,” Kumar-Montei said. “In my opinion, it doesn’t really matter that she’s from Minnesota. Even though she has been a senator for a long time, I think that that would help her in Minnesota but elsewhere it would probably hurt her,” Shumway said.
At EHS, the 2020 presidential election presents an opportunity for students to become politically engaged. “[Students can learn] how party politics affect the Constitution: all the informal ways we go about nominating candidates, electing presidents as a result of party practices. Of course, they can get excited about the issues and going out and seeing what candidates are doing to try to appeal and get their message out,” Dockter said.