Sen. Amy Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race with less than 24 hours to go before Super Tuesday and is planning to endorse former Vice President Joe Biden at a rally in Dallas later this evening.
With Sen. Bernie Sanders and Biden having picked up the vast majority of delegates so far, many of the other candidates simply don't have a feasible path to the nomination — nor the funding to find a new path. Despite Klobuchar's strong turnout in New Hampshire, she had much less support in Iowa, Nevada, and South Carolina, and her Super Tuesday campaign swing reportedly avoided two key states: Texas and California. It's no wonder Twitter is full of #AmytoBiden and #AmytoBernie hashtags.
While Klobuchar’s relatively minimal support means her exit from the race felt inevitable, her endorsement of Biden ahead of Super Tuesday feels like a game-changer. The results of tomorrow's all-important primary, which will more or less determine whether the Democratic nominee will be an outspoken septuagenarian Democratic socialist from Vermont or an outspoken septuagenarian establishment Democrat from Delaware, are still up in the air, but a sudden cascade of high-level support for Biden could have a significant effect. Today, prominent senators like Tammy Duckworth, former senators like Barbara Boxer and Harry Reid, and a slew of public officials nationwide announced their endorsements of Biden. Pete Buttigieg, another recent 2020 dropout, is said to be considering a Biden endorsement.
Why is all of this happening now? Endorsements are akin to job applications, with many of these high-level officials unofficially vying for cabinet positions or even running-mate status: Sen. Kamala Harris, who is also said to be weighing an endorsement of Biden, is often brought up as a potential VP. Then, too, even after his decisive victory in South Carolina, Biden needs a boost on Super Tuesday if he wants to win the nomination, as he's been lagging in other states. This is also a way for centrist Democrats to steer the nomination from Bernie Sanders.
Klobuchar, who knows her way around an argument and has had quite a few standout moments in the Democratic debates, is likely to be an effective advocate for Biden, who has, to put it mildly, had a few speaking gaffes on the campaign trail and the debate stage.
During her campaign, Klobuchar has constantly touted her ability to bring people together, which includes working with Republican senators to pass over 100 bills during her long career. But ultimately, her opposition to Medicare for All and her prosecutorial record, which includes overseeing the potentially wrongful conviction of Myon Burrell, a Black man, of murder when he was a teenager, turned off progressives. Moderate Democrats see Biden as the more "electable" candidate, whether it's due to name recognition, executive experience, or gender.
While Klobuchar’s campaign was never explicitly feminist, as one of the first women to run for president ever, she built an important template for future candidates with her assertiveness and refusal to back down in arguments. During the debates, Klobuchar sparred with Buttigieg on everything from the inherent sexist double standard of his lack of political experience to her voting record — and never let him have the last word. (Who could forget, "I wish everyone was as perfect as you, Pete" during the Nevada Democratic debate?) Perhaps it's unsurprising, then, that she didn't let him steal her dropout thunder — announcing that she's leaving the race a day after him so as not to be lost in the news cycle.
Honestly, I've spent the past 10 minutes cackling at the fact that Amy Klobuchar refused to share a day or news cycle with Pete Buttigieg, even in bowing out from this race.— Lily Herman (@lkherman) March 2, 2020