Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s failed presidential bid has convinced The New York Times that what is needed is more “outspokenly feminist” candidates.
Apparently the New York Democrat’s hard left stance on immigration and gun control, among other issues, were not her downfall as Times reporter Lisa Lerer argued that sexism was to blame for Gillibrand’s withdrawal from the 2020 race last week.
“We just need more women,” Lerer contended is the “argument that strategists, political scientists and pollsters” use, writing in her article published Monday entitled “Gillibrand’s Failed Run Shows Feminism’s Promise and Limits.”
“More women means less attention on pantsuits and more on political strategy. More women means a candidate is judged on her merits, not as a human proxy for more than 50 percent of the population. More women makes it easier for every woman running,” Lerer wrote, noting the point being made that she believes misses the mark.
“In the 2020 presidential primary, six women mounted campaigns and the field finally had more than enough women to assemble a basketball team — or to minimize the use of sports metaphors in politics, if they so chose,” she continued.
“But the first to drop out? Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, who attempted to distinguish her candidacy by offering the most outspokenly feminist message of the field,” Lerer added, offering other excuses for the failed campaign including “cash woes and strategic miscalculations, and with breaking from the pack.”
Lerer contended that Gillibrand’s “fiercely feminist message” was lost in a field with too many other women running.
“More female candidates in a race can help voters see women as viable political leaders without making any one campaign a referendum on gender equity. A bigger field also means that an explicitly feminist case may struggle to break through, because other choices abound,” she wrote.
Lerer noted that the New York senator “struggled to connect with a broad enough range of voters,” lamenting how the other women candidates seemed to do better, without actually detailing Gillibrand’s own mistakes at the outset.
“While the other women in the race, like Ms. Klobuchar and Ms. Warren, overcame early attacks on their character, some suggest Ms. Gillibrand struggled to push back against charges that she is too politically calculating — a reputation that tends to be deployed more negatively toward female politicians than their male colleagues.” Lerer wrote.
Lerer did acknowledge one of the areas that the lawmaker did come under fire and dogged her throughout the short-lived campaign was her attacks on Sen. Al Franken.
According to Lerer:
On one issue, Ms. Gillibrand did stand out — to her detriment: Al Franken. Ms. Gillibrand faced persistent questions about her position on her former Senate colleague, who retired in 2017 following allegations of sexual harassment. While Ms. Warren and Ms. Harris also called for Mr. Franken to step down — a fact often mentioned by Ms. Gillibrand’s frustrated aides — Ms. Gillibrand moved first, awarding herself the credit, and the blame, for the caucus-wide call.
But even after this, Lerer found a way to attribute the backlash over Gillibrand’s actions to sexism.
“That Mr. Franken appeared to be a factor in Ms. Gillibrand’s campaign shows how female candidates can still face serious backlash for attacking high-profile men,” she wrote.
It seems a stretch to think Lerer would offer the same excuse if Gillibrand had been a conservative candidate.
Following Gilibrand’s announcement that she was dropping out of the race, Fox News host Tucker Carlson slammed the “pampered hypocrite,” calling her the “worst candidate ever.” President Trump also responded with a snarky shot back at the Democrat.
— Conservative News (@BIZPACReview) August 29, 2019
The New York senator had also come under fire for her campaign promise to “Clorox the Oval Office” and an unbelievable lecture to a woman about “white privilege” and “institutional racism.”
Readers mocked the piece for reaching to excuse Gillibrand’s loss in terms of gender and not based on her failure to run on a message that actually appealed to voters.
It could be much simpler than the article suggests. It could be A) She was bad at delivering her message, B) The message she was delivering was not compelling, C) People just plain don’t like her and/or D) All of the above.
— Dave Boyer (@NHL_Observer) September 1, 2019
Hint: It wasn’t the message; it was the messenger.
— skymarshall (@neandermudgeon) September 1, 2019
News flash, folks: if she was a man named Ken Gillenbrand, he still would’ve lost.
— Chuck Monan aka The Pigskin Preacher (@monan_chuck) September 1, 2019
So powerful she was completely irrelevant
— Mike (@mdherrell) September 1, 2019
Shorter version: Linda Sarsour’s pal polled at zero percent and raised almost no money and dropped out.
— SparkyDelFuego (@SparkyDelFuego) September 1, 2019
Her only obstacle was that she had nothing to offer but women as victims. Her life-of-affluence & privilege, nor media fawning, could offset her empty suit.
— Peggy Upchurch (@peggy1023) September 1, 2019
— Ignatz (@IgnatzRatskywa1) September 1, 2019
Oh please! Gillibrand’s message was about as feminist as a taco. There’s no relation one to the other.
— Jeff Aronson (@JeffAronson25) September 1, 2019
No. 1, People on the far left never really forgave her for her actions towards Al Franken
No. 2, She made complete 180 degree changes on many issues over the past few years, making it look like she didn’t stand for anything other than gaining power.
— Cathy M. Reiser (@CathyMReiser) September 1, 2019
She’s a fake opportunist. That’s why she bombed. Not because of a feminist message.
— Trev88 (@trev9898) September 1, 2019
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