Mandatory Showdown: Pete Buttigieg v. Amy Klobuchar in the ‘Survivor’ Style Battle to Be Joe Biden’s Vice-President
The Democratic pool for the 2020 presidential election is shrinking. With Pete Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar both ending their campaigns over the past several days, it appears the contest will come down to suspiciously senile Joe Biden or meme-tastic Bernie Sanders. If Biden takes home the nomination, who will he name as his running mate? As moderates, Buttigieg and Klobuchar are obvious picks for a potential vice-presidency. But only one is truly suited for the job that no politician really wants. In this Mandatory Showdown, we’re pitting these two Midwesterners against one another to see which might get a second wind in this election cycle yet.
Cover Photos: Scott Olson / Staff (Getty Images)
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Klobuchar can’t help but shove her Midwestern-ness in our faces. From hotdish metaphors to wondering aloud how policy would affect her “Uncle Dick in a deer stand,” every other phrase out of her mouth seems to scream, “I’m Minnesotan!” She announced her candidacy in a snowstorm, after all (and she’ll never let us forget it). There’s nothing particularly Midwestern about Buttigieg, other than his address and his pasty skin tone.
Klobuchar was once a corporate lawyer and partner at two firms. She’s also been a county attorney, and is in her third term as a U.S. senator. In 2016, she passed more legislation than any other senator. Buttigieg was the two-term mayor of South Bend, Indiana. That’s it. That’s all. The winner here is clear.
Klobuchar’s voice is a whole ‘nother level of annoying. Think foreboding fog horn. Buttigieg speaks in a one-note monotone, which, while non-threatening, can put you to sleep. In debates, however, Buttigieg is impossible to rattle while Klobuchar’s nervous vocal fry is audible.
Klobuchar is like your strict aunt who won’t let you get away with anything. That she’s known for working “across the aisle” is a little surprising given her tough-as-nails personality. Buttigieg always has a dopey smile on his face. It’s hard to imagine him getting angry, much less fighting for anything. When it comes to being vice-president, being submissive and kissing ass are crucial. There’s only one man for this job.
Buttigieg has been criticized for his robotic mannerisms. Klobuchar can come off as aggressive. They both think they have a sense of humor, but they've never made us laugh. If who you’d want to have a beer with determines the likability of a politician, neither wins this round.
Buttigieg is a Harvard and Oxford alum. As a lieutenant in the United States Navy Reserve, he was deployed to Afghanistan for seven months. Though he worked at consulting firm McKinsey, his most recent reported salary was around $112K, not exactly making him Mr. Moneybags. Though Klobuchar went to Yale, followed by the University of Chicago for law school, her professional history includes a stint working construction for the Minnesota Highway Department. As a senator, her annual earnings clocked in around $174K. In 2015, she banked an extra $68K in royalties from her memoir The Senator Next Door. Though they’re both married and try to come across as everyday folk, their prestigious careers and burgeoning net worth make them unlike most people you know. But we have to choose one, so we will.
Klobuchar will obviously appeal to those who want to see a woman in the White House (even if she is second-in-command). But she struggles with approval from voters of color, and has even taken heat for her treatment of black men when she was Hennepin County attorney. Buttigieg has the support of…well, we’re not entirely sure, aside from white people in Iowa. He isn’t particularly popular with the LBTQ community. He’s Episcopalian, but good luck getting conservative Christians to rally behind him. Both seem to appeal to a niche market, but Buttigieg is definitely more of an acquired taste.
Klobuchar was Minnesota’s first female senator. Buttigieg was the first openly gay person to run in a presidential campaign. Both are groundbreaking politicians, but the U.S. has seen female senators and a female presidential candidate before, so Buttigieg went out on a farther limb than Klobuchar here.
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After careful deliberation, we’re going to declare Buttigieg the more likely candidate for vice-president. He’s better suited to play second fiddle, a role Klobuchar is too experienced (and has too big of an ego) for. Buttigieg would fade nicely into the background behind President Biden, doing all the human interest events that are part and parcel of the VP gig with a smile on his face while the big man gets the real work done. They also have that “B” alliteration going for them, and it’d make for some sweet campaign logos.
Overall Winner: Buttigieg