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Minnesota’s Morning Podcast


Monday, February 6, 2017

Al Franken for President?

Josh Kraushaar writes in National Journal that Minnesota’s junior senator, Al Franken, is the Democrat of the moment to take on President Donald Trump.

To be sure, Franken, 65, may not be the Demo­crats’ strongest can­did­ate in the gen­er­al elec­tion. His deeply lib­er­al polit­ics and long-stand­ing dis­missive­ness of Re­pub­lic­ans turn off many voters in the middle. But with Demo­crats look­ing for strident op­pos­i­tion to Trump in the early days of his pres­id­ency, they’re prob­ably not go­ing to be in a prag­mat­ic mood in the primar­ies. So far, much of the lib­er­al ex­cite­ment has centered around Sens. Eliza­beth War­ren and Bernie Sanders, but they will be 71 and 79, re­spect­ively, dur­ing the gen­er­al elec­tion. Neither has shown any abil­ity to win sup­port out­side the most pro­gress­ive pre­cincts. Franken, at least, can point to a re­cord of elect­ab­il­ity with groups that Demo­crats will need to win over.

Kraushaar points out that Democrats need to win back blue-collar voters they lost to Trump in 2016. Franken and Trump actually see eye-to-eye on trade issues.

Like Trump, [Franken] cham­pioned buy-Amer­ic­an le­gis­la­tion for iron and steel com­pan­ies, and helped se­cure new trade pro­tec­tions and tar­iffs against Chinese steel. A Franken ad­viser told Na­tion­al Journ­al he’s likely to find “some com­mon ground” with Trump on trade is­sues. He’s akin to Sen. Sher­rod Brown of Ohio, with more star power to ex­cite the mil­len­ni­als and non­whites who make up so much of the Demo­crat­ic Party’s base.

Franken, who has gotten more national attention recently because of arguments in Senate hearings, has a memoir coming out in May. You can’t run for president without also pitching book sales.


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