An eleventh Democrat has officially joined the 2020 race with Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar launching her bid for the top job.

By Daniel Herborn

Posted on February 11, 2019

Standing on a platform which was quickly covered in snow at her campaign launch in Minneapolis, Klobuchar told those assembled it was a “time when we must heal the heart of our democracy”.

She had been the first woman elected to the US Senate from Minnesota and is aiming to be the first woman elected as President. She joins Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren, Tulsi Gabbard, Kirsten Gillibrand and Marianne Williamson in the race.

It is the first time a major party has had more than one woman running. There are now 11 Democrats that have officially thrown their hat in the ring.

Klobuchar appeals to voters fatigued by the “petty and vicious nature” of US politics

Klobuchar said she wanted to reverse a growing social division as President. “That sense of community is fracturing across our nation right now, worn down by the petty and vicious nature of our politics,” she said.

“We are all tired of the shutdowns and the showdowns, the gridlock and the grandstanding. Today we say enough is enough.

“Our nation must be governed not from chaos but from opportunity. Not by wallowing over what’s wrong, but by marching inexorably toward what’s right. That’s got to start with all of us.”

Her speech went on to outline her plans to “stand up to the gun lobby” by mandating universal background checks and drafting “commonsense gun legislation”. Her advocacy for gun control has earned her an ‘F’ rating in voters’ guides distributed by the National Rifle Association.

She also promised to reconnect the US to the international community and end the politics of “fear-mongering”. She said her native Minnesota had the biggest Somali population in the US and the state was “very proud” of this community.

Klobuchar pitching herself as a moderate candidate

Having described herself as having the ability to “disagree without being disagreeable”, Klobuchar has carved out a reputation as a politician capable of working with foes from across the political divide. In 2018, she was part of cross-party talks aiming to reach a consensus on immigration that would have boosted border security while protecting undocumented immigrant children from deportation. Two-thirds of the bills she has sponsored have had a Republican co-sponsor.

As a Senator, Klobuchar has voted with Trump 31.5% of the time, a contrast to rivals in the Democrat presidential race Kamala Harris (18%), Cory Booker (15.7%) and Elizabeth Warren (13.5%).

Klobuchar endorsed universal healthcare in her address and has been a supporter of Obamacare and middle-class tax relief.

The 58-year-old Klobuchar is a three-term Senator but saw her profile rise nationally when she drew on her background as a prosecutor to grill Trump’s US Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh on the allegations of sexual assault against him.

Klobuchar had previously been low-key on the national stage, but she is popular in Minnesota and was re-elected to the Senate in November 2018 with more than 60% of the vote.

Almost immediately after she announced her candidacy, however, she was forced to respond to reports that she was a demanding and sometimes cruel boss. A report in Buzzfeed News said she had berated staffers, sent furious early morning emails and even hurled objects at employees. For a politician who has prided herself on bringing ‘Minnesota nice’ to the snake pit of Washington and offering a mild-mannered alternative to the more abrasive Trump, it was a damaging story.

“Yes, I can be tough, and yes I can push people,” Klobuchar told reporters after her rally. “I have high expectations for myself, I have high expectations for the people that work for me, but I have high expectations for this country.”

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