The Atlantic

What Presidential Announcements Reveal About the Candidates

The speeches present the country’s condition as a puzzle that’s missing one piece, which the candidate can supply.
Source: Eric Miller / Reuters

Amy Klobuchar made her presidential announcement in the accommodating weather conditions all candidates want. The cold was ringing in the audience’s ears as much as the senator’s words. The snow draped a doily of flakes on her head. She charged ahead without an umbrella: bad weather, but in sync with her message. “I don’t have a political machine. I don’t come from money. But what I do have is this: I have grit.” You can say this about yourself, but it’s better if you can show it.

The presidential announcement is a rare act of campaigning over which the candidates have near-total control. They pick the timing, venue, and message. Only the weather is left to chance, and the good candidates shape that too. In 1952, Dwight Eisenhower in the rain at his boyhood home of Abilene, Kansas. He joked about the rain in

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