Amy Klobuchar's Spanish name: latest on the list of 2020 attempts at 'relatability'

‘My name is Amy, but when I was in fourth-grade Spanish they gave me the name Elena,’ Klobuchar said at an event in Nevada

On Tuesday, Amy Klobuchar opened the Culinary Union forum in Nevada with a very interesting introduction.

“My name is Amy, but when I was in fourth-grade Spanish they gave me the name Elena,” she said to the room. Presumably she was trying to appeal to the large number of Latinx people present – the Culinary Union is Nevada’s largest immigrant organization, and about 54% of its members identify as Latinx.

But it’s hard to be sure. One reporter tweeted from the scene: “Klobuchar says that in elementary school Spanish class her name was ‘Elena’ because she couldn’t roll her r’s”. Which would make sense, if Amy had an “r” in it. Perhaps Klobuchar was just hoping to make amends for earlier this month when she forgot the name of the Mexican president, right after voting for his trade treaty?

aside from the absurdity of this comment, Amy Klobuchar, an elected US Senator, remembers her name from 4th-grade Spanish but does not know the name of the President of Mexico

— Megan Newsome (@ItsMeganNewsome) February 19, 2020

This grasp at “relatability” is cringe-worthy – the desperate, out-of-touch candidate trying so hard to resonate that they end up accidentally proving their own ignorance. But we’ve seen this all before, Klobuchar is not alone. Here are some of the worst attempts from her opponents in the race (so far).

When Joe Biden tried to appeal to women

Before November’s Democratic presidential candidates’ debate in Georgia, Joe Biden was on a good footing. He was ahead in the polls. And despite allegations of unwanted touching, and repeated calls for him to apologize over his intrusive questioning of Anita Hill in the 90s, he still had strong support among women.

And then this happened. In response to a question about domestic violence, Biden highlighted an interesting tactic: domestic violence should be punched. Repeatedly, he said.

On stage in Atlanta, Biden said: “No man has a right to raise a hand to a woman in anger other than in self-defense and that rarely ever occurs. And so we have to just change the culture. Period. And keep punching at it and punching at it and punching at it.” Ouch.

When Elizabeth Warren tried to appeal to Native Americans

In 2012, reports surfaced that Elizabeth Warren was touted as a Native American faculty member while working at Harvard in the 90s.

Then, in 2018, after years of justifying that she was indeed American Indian, Elizabeth Warren came out with the proof. She brandished DNA test results which revealed that she – wait for it – maybe had a Native American ancestor six to ten generations ago.

All the American Indians who have been asked for their 23andMe results before being subjected to discrimination sighed a breath of relief that a presidential candidate finally understood their lived experience (JK). And then we all remembered that race is a social construct and not a biological reality – oh, and that DNA tests really aren’t that reliable. Warren has since apologized. But it was a real pie-in-the-face moment.

When Bloomberg tried to appeal to farmers

I don’t know about you, but if I was a billionaire trying to appeal to working-class America, I might not do it by suggesting that they’re all commoners with less brain matter than me.

But then again, maybe I’m just not as smart as Mike Bloomberg – who this week said he could probably “teach anybody to be a farmer” – despite the fact that he is not a farmer. Wow, very down to earth.

Billionaire Bloomberg claims he "could teach anybody to be a farmer," even implying that farmers don't have the same level of "skillset" or "grey matter" as folks in tech jobs.

So demeaning, elitist, and out-of-touch it's appalling.

— Anna Kelly (@AnnaKellyWI) February 17, 2020

When Buttigieg tries to appeal to … anyone

Pete Buttigieg would bring chips and salsa to the cookout. He eats beef jerky on the campaign trail. And he eats a cinnamon roll like a chicken wing. And yes, he once intimated that having a difficult to pronounce surname helps him to understand racism. Which leaves a lot of people wondering: just who is Mayor Pete trying to appeal to? Maybe sometimes better to stick to what you know – like being white and bland? Sorry, Mayo’ Pete.


Poppy Noor

The GuardianTramp

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