October 26, 2020

the Way with Amy K

IMMEDIATE RELEASE 13 February 2020WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUNDToday’s Events in Historical PerspectiveAmerica’s Longest-Running Column Founded 1932All the way with Amy KBy Douglas Cohn and Eleanor Clift          WASHINGTON – The Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary are history, and soon it won’t be about expectations anymore, it will be about winning votes – and delegates. That will include a popular platform, great debating skills, presidential gravitas, and a degree of charisma, which a catchy slogan can only enhance.           Witness Gen. William Henry Harrison in 1840 capitalizing on his military victory: “Tippecanoe and Tyler Too;”           Or Calvin Coolidge (Silent Cal), who desperately needed a charisma enhancement in 1924: "Keep Cool with Coolidge;”          Or FDR during the depths of the Great Depression in 1932: "Happy Days Are Here Again;"          Or underdog Harry Truman in 1948: "Give ‘em Hell, Harry;"          Or even LBJ’s negative retort to Barry Goldwater’s slogan in 1964: "In Your Heart, You Know He's Right; In Your Guts, You Know He's Nuts."          For Democrats this year will it be Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ “Feel the Bern?”          Perhaps, but another slogan is emerging from an emerging candidate. So much about politics is beating expectations, and that’s what Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., did in New Hampshire following her star turn in the Democratic debate the Friday before the Tuesday election.          Half of New Hampshire voters decided after that debate who they would back. Klobuchar’s closing statement about her humble origins, and her empathy for the voters and their problems, came through to viewers and closed the sale. Over three-quarters of Klobuchar’s support came from those late deciders. That is the definition of momentum.          “I'm asking you to believe that someone who totally believes in America can win this, because if you are tired of the extremes in our politics and the noise and the nonsense, you have a home with me,” she said. Heartfelt, but not catchy. Catchy came later from an offhand remark, typical of her signature humor.          In the fourth grade, Klobuchar ran for class president, and she wryly revealed her slogan almost in an aside: “All the Way with Amy K.” It would have been anything but appropriate if she had used it as a teenager, which she didn’t, but for a nine-year-old it was cute. Today, it is not only cute, it is funny, human, and – most of all – catchy, far more so than Lyndon Johnson’s 1964 original version: “All the way with LBJ.”          Klobuchar’s third place finish in New Hampshire came at the expense of the once prohibitive frontrunner, former Vice President Joe Biden, who left the state mid-day for South Carolina, where he hopes a more diverse Democratic electorate will help re-set his candidacy after back to back losses in Iowa and New Hampshire.          Klobuchar’s rise also threatens former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s standing as the newest and freshest face in the field. They are both from the Midwest and claim they can carry the pockets of industrial America that have been left behind, victims of technology and globalism. An infusion of cash into Klobuchar’s campaign enabled her to put up television ads in the next contest, which is heavily unionized Nevada on February 22nd, a caucus that will be preceded by a televised debate on the 19th.          A big test for her — and for Buttigieg – is whether they can win over the more diverse population in Nevada and on February 29th in South Carolina where the Democratic electorate is 60 percent African American.          Meanwhile, the playing field has gotten a lot more equal for Klobuchar since Biden faltered. Voters who were leaning to him are more open to other mainstream candidates, and Klobuchar will find out whether her demeanor, familiar to Midwesterners as “Minnesota nice,” will resonate among voters who are only just now getting to know her. A cute, catchy slogan can make the difference.          Douglas Cohn’s latest books are World War 4: Nine Scenarios (endorsed by seven flag officers) and The President’s First Year: The Only School for Presidents Is the Presidency.          Twitter:  @douglas_cohn          © 2020 U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          Distributed by U.S. News Syndicate, Inc.          END WASHINGTON MERRY-GO-ROUND

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