May 4th 2019
It’s possibly the most important decision of Joe Biden’s life. And it might not be a current candidate. Deval Patrick and Mark Warner would make good VP running mates. Maybe Michelle Obama. But in 2020, the conventional edge has to go to Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, and Kamala Harris who plays well in the crucial Upper Midwest.
The on-paper appeal of the two candidates is very different despite both having been prosecutors and both showing their prosecutor backgrounds to good effect in high profile Senate hearings.
Kamala Harris has the potential to increase turnout in the cities. Amy Klobuchar has the potential to swing the exurb voters who can be swung.
Klobuchar-and-friends won their important, and sometimes very close 2018 elections in the region (think WI governor Evers, MI governor Whitmer).
Both bring the decency factor. Kamala looks like a TV anchor anywhere in this country. Klobuchar looks and sounds like the groundbreaking leader of every country in history that has had a woman leader at the top.
What do the media stats say?
The chart is zoomed to focus on WI and MI, not MN and OH. Trust me, Amy Klobuchar is killing in Minneapolis-St. Paul, and choosing her would safely retain MN. Whether Kamala Harris would do the same of course depends on the psychology of the rejection, not the palpability of the candidate at this early stage.
Interestingly, Ms. Harris raises the spirits in Madison and Rockford and Peoria (a proxy for Eastern Iowa), but not Detroit. Chicago is not bright here because most Chicago media are classified as national for us. Ms. Klobuchar also does discernibly better in crucial Milwaukee.
KH is doing better in the Appleton area (and across the lake south of Traverse City), and can connect Kalamazoo to South Bend. These are small samples, so it could be a single news outlet mentioning one and not the other. The two are in a dead heat in Iowa, except that KH’s popularity in Peoria spills a bit north and west. Iowa will let its preferences be known early of course.
So we have a bit of a head scratcher here. Subtracting the cities, Kamala Harris and Amy Klobuchar are essentially getting the same attention. On the other hand, looking just at the big cities, where is the Kamala Harris bump? When I have voted in a city, even early on a nice sunny Saturday, it takes some real effort for voters to stand in long lines (let’s not get started on voter suppression effects). Urban turnout is a real concern.
Furthermore, Milwaukee could be the most important city to watch. Klobuchar promises appeal in Milwaukee and so far, looks to be making good on that promise. Or at least when she mentions Milwaukee, Milwaukee mentions her back.
Finally, Michigan. Where is Ann Arbor? Basically Milan on the map. If Harris runs hot in Madison, why not also in Ann Arbor? Sure Madison is a capital city, not just a liberal citadel. But one would think Ann Arbor would be brighter. And where is Detroit? Is Kamala “not black enough”?
It’s a long process, but my guess is that it won’t be an easy choice even six months from now.
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