CNN
Now playing
01:34
Klobuchar: Have I pushed people too hard? Yes.
Fox News/Twitter
Now playing
01:33
ADL wants Fox News to fire Tucker Carlson over racist comments
CNN
Now playing
02:36
The truth behind Covid-19 vaccines for sale on the dark web
Now playing
04:22
Levi's CEO has message for Mitch McConnell
Now playing
01:54
'You think I'm racist': Former Fox News host storms off camera
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Paul Morigi/Getty Images
Korie Robertson and Willie Robertson of the reality series "Duck Dynasty" attend the Capitol File 58th Presidential Inauguration Reception at Fiola Mare on January 19, 2017 in Washington, DC.
Now playing
01:46
'Duck Dynasty' stars discuss raising biracial son on new show
FOX/"The Masked Singer"
Now playing
01:24
Nick Cannon makes big splash in 'Masked Singer' return
The Drew Barrymore Show/YouTube
Now playing
01:26
'Mom' star speaks out about not having kids in real life
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses.  (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty Images
Heinz ketchup packets are shown in New York on Monday, August 22, 2005. H.J. Heinz Co., the world's biggest ketchup maker, said first-quarter profit fell 19 percent on expenses to cut jobs and sell businesses. (Photo by Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
Now playing
01:53
Restaurants face a nationwide ketchup packet shortage
Camerota Berman both
CNN
Camerota Berman both
Now playing
02:33
CNN anchor Alisyn Camerota gets surprise tribute from co-anchor
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period.  AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/AFP via Getty Images
Citigroup Chairman Richard Parsons delivers remarks on the US economy at the New York State Bar Association meetings in New York, January 28, 2009. Troubled US banking giant Citigroup last week named Parsons as its new chairman, the longtime top executive at media giant Time Warner, to steer it through its most challenging period. AFP PHOTO / Emmanuel Dunand (Photo credit should read EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP via Getty Images)
Now playing
02:47
Dick Parsons: Georgia law is a bald-faced attempt to suppress Black vote
Courtesy of Warner Bros. Picture
Now playing
02:54
'Godzilla vs. Kong' is a pandemic box office hit
Now playing
01:30
5 ways to cut your plastic waste
CNN/Getty Images
Now playing
04:40
Stelter: After elevating Gaetz, Fox News barely covering scandal
NASA/Goddard/University of Arizona
Now playing
01:08
See NASA spacecraft successfully land on an asteroid
Now playing
06:51
Alisyn Camerota's kids wish her good luck in new role on CNN

Editor’s Note: Jill Filipovic is a journalist based in Washington and the author of the book, “The H-Spot: The Feminist Pursuit of Happiness.” Follow her on Twitter. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely her own.

(CNN) —  

Amy Klobuchar is not the candidate of shiny new ideas, and that much was on display Monday night at her CNN Town Hall appearance. She is very much the candidate of cooperation – and of “no.” No Green New Deal. No Medicare for All. No free college. What she does promise: Competence. Compromise. Order.

Jill Filipovic
Courtesy of Jill Filipovic
Jill Filipovic

It’s not the stuff of great inspiration. But while Klobuchar, a US senator, may not appeal to the more progressive wing of the Democratic Party (a category in which I include myself), she has a lot to offer more moderate Democrats. And she guarantees this will be a primary in which policy and ideas are debated from her position, to the center of the Bernie Sanders left. That’s good for the Democratic Party, for voters, and for the country.

There is very little about Klobuchar that draws voters like me. But it is admittedly refreshing to see a politician speak coherently and cogently, especially after our current President’s distressingly incomprehensible ramblings. It’s also reassuring to listen to a candidate who has clearly thought through the costs and benefits of the slew of policy proposals on the table, even if she comes to different conclusions than I do.

A range of policy proposals made by intelligent policymakers who have thought through the potential upsides and downsides is the only way to have a real debate. It’s also something that’s been missing in Trump’s America, when progressives have watched in horror as a feckless President tears down so much of what we hold dear and his own party simply shrugs as he makes a mockery of our institutions and our values.

01:52 - Source: CNN
This is the question Klobuchar says she'd ask Trump

Moderate Democrats like Klobuchar are not going to capture the support of the many voters who are elated about the leftward shift of the Democratic Party. But she may capture those who are less thrilled, allowing the primary to be a true contest of ideas. I happen to believe that the more left-leaning ideas – and candidates – will win out, putting to bed the notion that Democrats are moving too far too fast. But the only way to do that is to give voters options. For the more conservative Democrats in the party, it’s hard to come up with a better one than Klobuchar.

It’s also good to see another woman in the race, even if I disagree with her on a wide range of issues. Gender dynamics are always complicated, but the more women compete for power, the more normal it becomes for women to compete for power – and the less of a price individual women pay.

While Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand has put gender front and center in her campaign and Sens. Kamala Harris and Elizabeth Warren have rolled out introductions that touch on their identities and the need to examine economic inequality through the lens of race and gender, Klobuchar again tacks more moderate, largely sidestepping anything that could be construed as “identity politics” and instead homing in on the white, middle America identity that many white voters seem to believe is simply neutral.

That choice reflects an older model of Democratic campaigning that I suspect will fail in our current political era. But again, Klobuchar offers a (backward-looking) choice that stands in sharp contrast to most of the rest of the Democratic field.

I think she stands to lose. Bland ‘90s centrism is not what most Democrats seem to want, even if the #NeverTrump conservatives who have been cautiously welcomed to our side tell us it is. And bland ‘90s centrism is exactly what was on offer from Klobuchar at Monday’s town hall.

But for those of us who think the Democratic base has moved further to the left than its representatives in Congress, this primary is a fight we want to have.

Elections are usually much more about personality than policy, but with a crowded Democratic field and a slew of candidates who take the details of policy seriously, this contest could prove to be more about substance than optics.

Get our free weekly newsletter

Klobuchar is a worthy representative for moderates and a worthy foe for the more lefty among us. If she’s defeated from the left – and I believe she will be – it will be the confirmation and the mandate for true progress so many of us have been waiting for.