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Democrats, This Is Your 2020 Savior

'National Journal' columnist makes the case
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Feb 7, 2017 9:49 AM CST
Al Franken in 2020?
Sen. Al Franken, D-Minn., takes the stage during the first day of the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia.   (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

(Newser) – One school of thought among Democrats is that they should borrow from the book of Trump and go with more of a celebrity than a traditional politician in 2020. Well, how about a little bit of both? At the National Journal, Josh Kraushaar makes the case for Al Franken as a viable contender. The 65-year-old Saturday Night Live alum seems to be finding his groove in the Senate, having emerged as one of the "most aggressive and effective questioners" of President Trump's Cabinet nominees. Expect that to continue with Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch. Franken, though, has learned to balance his toughness with levity, and his authentic self is emerging after years of keeping things closer to the vest, writes Kraushaar.

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True, his "deeply liberal politics" might not fly with moderate voters, but Franken has done something that Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders have not: proven he can "win support outside the most progressive precincts." He easily won re-election in 2014 while other Democrats struggled nationwide, and he did so with the support of working-class residents in rural areas—a group that propelled Trump to victory. In fact, he shares some of the president's views on trade issues, having fought for tariffs against Chinese steel. "This is Al Franken’s mo­ment in the spot­light," writes Kraushaar, "and if he chooses, he could par­lay his good for­tune in­to a bid for the pres­id­ency in 2020." Click for the full column. (Read more Al Franken stories.)

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