Finally got an opportunity to watch Amy Klobuchar’s campaign launch speech yesterday. I thought it was a pretty good speech overall, and if she wanted to convey grit and toughness by talking for 25 minutes in a howling blizzard, mission accomplished. I was shivering all the way down here in Florida:
One thing that struck me about the speech was Klobuchar’s focus on Big Tech. The Post noticed that too:
Klobuchar’s decision to make privacy and Internet connectivity a central focus of her campaign could elevate tech policy issues during the Democratic primary. By touting these issues during her first major speech as a 2020 contender, Klobuchar is making a big bet that privacy and other digital concerns are increasingly important to American voters.
It’s especially striking since tech policy is not generally an issue that drives voters’ feet to the polls. In a survey about voter priorities ahead of the 2018 midterm elections, Gallup listed health care, the economy and immigration as the top concerns among voters. Technology wasn’t even included in the 12 issues on the list. Yet if Klobuchar shows Democratic voters — especially key demographics like millennials — are paying attention, other politicians may start to prioritize issues like privacy and net neutrality in campaigns.
I also saw a GMA clip from yesterday of Klobuchar talking to George Stephanopoulos, and she elaborated a bit on her approach to Big Tech when asked what she specifically brings to the 2020 race:
“I don’t think anyone is talking enough about the challenges of our day, like digital disruption and the changes it’s making to the workforce and the need for privacy laws. No one’s willing to take on the tech companies, and I am.”
Klobuchar was on Maddow last night, and she talked about the Russians using technology to fuck with our elections in refreshingly clear terms. She, Mark Warner and John McCain sponsored the sorely needed Honest Ads Act to bring online political advertising regulation in line with print, TV and radio ads.
Maddow asked about the reports from disgruntled employees. I thought Klobuchar handled that pretty well. She owned up that she could be “too tough” and push people “too hard” sometimes but also pointed out that there are people who’ve been with her for many years, including those who went on to work for President Obama and then returned to staff her office after his terms were up.
Maddow also asked about how Klobuchar is handling what Maddow characterized as the unusual circumstance of a run of negative press, and Klobuchar pointed out that she’d dealt with that before as a DA and senator and said she’s plenty tough enough to weather a presidential run. From what I’ve seen so far, I believe her.
I haven’t ruled out supporting any declared candidates for the Democratic nomination — except Gabbard, who is a kook and thankfully going nowhere. I don’t know who’s gonna catch fire in the primary or who has what it takes to win the general.
But I’m glad Elizabeth Warren is in the race elevating economic issues, and I’m happy Klobuchar is bringing workforce dislocation, online manipulation, data and privacy issues to the fore. I think people care about the issue more than the polling suggests. If they don’t, they damn well should.