Well, Kawhi Leonard, you’ve really done it now.
You’ve gone ahead and won the Toronto Raptors their first NBA championship.
You were so, so great, the Finals MVP. You’re the quiet stranger who changed basketball in Canada. Now you’re about to be a free agent, with the chance to leave and chart your own course.
We’re going to respectfully ask you to stay. It’s your call, of course, but it’s the correct call. Please, Kawhi.
Run it back with Canada. Don’t abandon the happy dinosaurs, still floating after knocking off the Golden State Warriors Thursday night.
If you were hoping to slip out the back door without anyone noticing, that’s not possible now. The Raptors traded for you last summer, after things got ugly in San Antonio, and you didn’t get a say in that deal. The presumption was you would endure a season up in the frozen north, then wind your way to where you really wanted to go—perhaps a warm destination in Southern California, where you are from.
But you know the correct destination, Kawhi. You’re already there.
This is a perfect marriage, between a low-key superstar and a franchise and city that understands him. The Raptors didn’t just embrace you. They became you. The whole outfit is modest, mellow, hard-working, all business. The Raptors may not have been a popular preseason pick to win this title, but they believed.
.. We love that you’re chill. That you don’t say much. This is a hyper-verbal society. We’ve all got too much to say, to the point all the words and syllables grind into a dull, meaningless noise. That’s not your deal. When you speak, it means something. It matters. You’re old-school that way.
But it isn’t just your silent mien. Your whole style is understated. Your game is electric, but you’ve never been about the sizzle. You’re sponsored by New Balance, for crying out loud. The Yeezys of dentists. It’s perfect.
When asked recently who Republicans should fear most in the 2020 presidential campaign, two prominent GOP figures, both women speaking independently of each other, gave the same response: Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota.
A third Republican, a male, asked which kind of candidate Democrats should want, replied: “They need a boring white guy from the Midwest.”
So, there you have it: The dream ticket of Amy Klobuchar and Sen. Sherrod Brown of Ohio. Case closed, cancel the primaries, on to the general election.
So if all that creates an opportunity for Democrats in 2020, here’s their dilemma: Can they pick a candidate who can blend the party’s conflicting impulses?
This may seem a long ways off, but the reality is that most Democrats thinking of running for president—and the number probably runs into the 20s—plan to make their decision over the next several weeks, so they can move out starting in early 2019.
.. The winning lottery ticket, of course, goes to somebody who can appeal to both. And that’s why Ms. Klobuchar’s name—and profile—attract attention. She’s a woman, obviously, which is important at a time when newly energized women are a growing force within the party. She pleased her party base in the hearings on the Supreme Court nomination of Brett Kavanaugh when she challenged him about his use of alcohol, but did so in a sufficiently calm and understated manner that she won an apology from Mr. Kavanaugh after he initially responded angrily.
.. She also won re-election this year with more than 60% of the vote in the one state Trump forces lost in 2016 but think they have a legitimate chance to flip their way in 2020.
.. The question is whether she or anyone can put together a policy agenda that pleases both party liberals, who are pushing for
- a Medicare-for-all health system,
- the demise of the Immigration and Customs Enforcement system and an
- aggressive new climate-change action plan, and more moderate Midwestern voters, who may be scared off by all of those things.
Ms. Klobuchar’s policy priorities may suggest a path. To address health care, the top priority of Democratic voters, she advocates a step-by-step approach, one that seeks to
- drive down prescription drug costs by opening the door to less-expensive drugs from Canada,
- protect and improve the Affordable Care Act, and
- expand health coverage by considering such steps as allowing more Americans to buy into the Medicare system.
.. She’s talked of a push to improve American infrastructure that would include expanding rural Americans’ access to broadband service, paying for it by rolling back some—though not all—of the tax cuts Republicans passed last year. She pushes for more vigorous antitrust enforcement, more protections for privacy and steps to curb undisclosed money in politics
.. For his part, Sen. Brown, a liberal who this year won Ohio as it otherwise drifts Republican, offers a working-class-friendly agenda that combines progressive impulses for government activism to drive up wages with Trumpian skepticism about trade deals and corporate outsourcing.