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.