In another sign of the Democratic presidential field being “winnowed” of its recent surplus of moderates, Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar is withdrawing from the race after poor finishes in Nevada (fifth place) and South Carolina (sixth place). Unlike Pete Buttigieg, who announced his withdrawal yesterday, Klobuchar is instantly throwing her support to the once-and-perhaps-future front-runner:
In fact, she’s going to appear with Biden at a pre-Super-Tuesday rally in Texas tonight.
Her withdrawal was only a surprise in terms of its timing. After a solid third-place performance in New Hampshire, Klobuchar had clearly run out of steam and money as the contest moved to more diverse states. While her limited appeal to minority voters didn’t get as much attention as Buttigieg’s, it was just as severe and debilitating. And although both Pete and Amy became “fighting moderates” recently (throwing elbows at each other as well as at more progressive candidates), Klobuchar moving into the Biden camp was particularly predictable given her consistent incrementalism on a broad array of policy issues. But it had been generally thought she’d stay in long enough to register a Super Tuesday win in her home state. Perhaps she was afraid she’d lose there, too.
As a U.S. Senator whose current term doesn’t end until 2024, Klobuchar can devote such time to the Biden cause now and the Democratic ticket later as her day-job allows. She’s likely too ideologically centrist to be on any serious Biden veep short lists, and abandoning neutrality probably takes her out of consideration for Sanders’s running mate as well. But at the age of 59 she is a relative tyke, and if she still harbors presidential ambitions, she has time to work on her minority voter appeal and her (much-questioned) treatment of staff.