“I think the path is a high voter turnout,” Klobuchar said. “I’m the one on this stage that had the highest voter turnout of any state in the country when I led the ticket, as well as bringing in rural and suburban voters. And I’ve done that as well. And I’m the only one with the receipts to have done that in Republican congressional districts over and over again.”
It’s probably true that high turnout — or, at least, higher turnout of Democratic voters — is a path to the party retaking the White House. It’s also true that Minnesota had the highest turnout of any state in the country in the three election cycles when Klobuchar was on the ticket (2006, 2012 and 2018).
But that probably didn’t have much to do with her.
Minnesota consistently has the highest turnout of any state. Data from the U.S. Elections Project shows that turnout in Minnesota was also higher than any other states in 2000, 2002, 2004, 2008 and 2010. In 2014, it fell to sixth, thanks to a surge in turnout in several other states. Those surges receded, and in 2016 and 2018, Minnesota was back on top.
That’s the context Klobuchar doesn’t mention. Sure, there was higher turnout in Republican districts in Minnesota when she ran for the Senate. Turnout is high in Minnesota!
What this doesn’t mean, of course, is that Klobuchar can increase turnout anywhere else. Maybe there’s something special and magical about her that might bring Minnesota-level turnout to red states. But it’s probably just something about Minnesota itself, and she has benefited from that.
Back in 1990, Michael Jordan had a massive game for the Chicago Bulls, scoring 69 points. After the game, a rookie named Stacey King, who’d made one free throw, was interviewed.
“I’ll always remember this as the night that Michael Jordan and I combined to score 70 points,” King said.
Klobuchar will always remember those elections when she and Minnesota got together to have the highest turnout in the country.