January 20, 2020

The New York Times shocked a lot of people last night when they announced they would endorse Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar for the Democratic nomination.

WARREN: I think the old left-right division, yeah, there's a lot of that, but I think it's a very different division in America. An America that working for a thinner and thinner slice at the top and not working for much of anyone else.

REPORTER: Is that enough to bridge, you know, this system's, the ecosystems of misinformation, hyperpartisanship, things that are --

REPORTER: Even more practically, is it enough to get anything passed in a Mitch McConnell senate?


REPORTER: Why don't talented people want to continue to work for you?

KLOBUCHAR: But they do. I hope you meet the people outside in the hall. I may not be the leading candidate right now, but I have beaten, like, 19 people, including every governor. And so you can't run a presidential campaign if you have a dysfunctional work environment. My campaign manager is the same one I've had for 14 years. My state director has been with me for 7 years. The acting chief of staff has been with me for 4 years and on her third baby.

Mara Gay, who is a member of the Times editorial board, was on Morning Joe to talk about it.

"You know, listen, the party is extremely divided and this is really our way of narrowing that field and also just pointing out to voters there is more than one pathway forward here. I think that senators Klobuchar and Warren, we believe, are the best standard bearers for those two paths, but also just kind of reimagining, taking a step back and reimagining what electability really means, and trying to broaden that vision," Gay said.

"The amount of votes that Donald Trump won by in 2016 was extremely narrow. So there's more than one way to build a winning coalition, so this is a nod to that as well."

"So Mara, let me ask about the divide on the progressive side between Bernie and Elizabeth. Of course, about a month ago or so, you had Labor getting really beaten badly in Britain, especially in the northern part of Britain, because it was believed that he overpromised. That is a complaint that's been made of these two Democrats, Bernie and Elizabeth. Yet you all found that Senator Warren, her approach was more realistic than Bernie Sanders. Explain that," Joe Scarborough said.

"Sure. You know, Senator Warren's history actually in deal making shows she is more of a pragmatist than has come across so far on the campaign trail. We did have a little bit of encouragement to her to hold on to that and let go of the maturity that some of the far left have called for. Her proposals are extremely serious and we really take her seriously as a candidate and believe she actually knows how to work well with others and, listen, this is somebody who used to be a Republican. She really is a convert to the Democratic party. Let's not forget that," Gay said.

Scaroborough wanted to know why Warren doesn't talk more about being a Republican.

"I think she could talk about it more, you're absolutely right, but she does talk very compellingly about her brothers. most of the majority whom are Republicans. And she talks how even though her family disagrees about a lot, they agree, for example, that companies like Amazon are quite powerful, too powerful, for the amount of taxes that they pay. She talks about the middle class most compellingly, and that was the thing that was most impressive to us. Not that this is an ideological divide about left or more moderate in the party, but Elizabeth Warren might be, along with Amy Klobuchar, the best people to save the middle class. We believe that is the challenge facing us today," Gay said.

You can read the endorsement here. Links to the interview transcripts of all the candidates are at the top of the page.

I've been saying for months that Klobuchar is the dark horse in this race -- mostly based on the fact that every single "civilian" I've talked to brings her up and talks about how much they like her. It's logical that people torn between poll leader Biden, Bernie, and Warren would look for someone they see as the best compromise. On air last week, I predicted she would be second or third in Iowa -- although I acknowledged that it was just a guess.

People don't normally pay much attention to endorsements -- except when they validate what they already believe. Klobuchar also got the Quad City Times endorsement last week -- this, after their endorsement of Bernie in 2016.

What does this change? Well, it means a lot of people will take a second look, and it will funnel a lot of donations her way, because she is gathering viability. And that means it takes some of the sheen of inevitability off Joe Biden.

As to Warren -- The Times took her a lot more seriously than Biden. That probably reassures many people as to her electability.

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