Thursday, May 23, 2019

Which Democrat Will Drop Out First? Kirsten Gillibrand Says Don't Look At Her


I've written a lot about why I don't think Kirsten Gillibrand would make a good president and there's no need to reiterate all of that again here. But one thing I never doubted was her skill as a politician. I've seen it first hand for over a decade. So why is her campaign failing so abysmally? Why are people saying she should drop out before she further embarrasses herself? Yesterday Shane Goldmacher tried to get to the bottom of that for NY Times readers.

First of all, for all the corporate and Wall Street cash she's rolling in, grassroots donors have abandoned her. She may not even qualify to make it to the debate stage! Goldmacher explained that "In the two years leading up to her 2020 run, Senator Kirsten Gillibrand spent millions of dollars building up a network of online and grass-roots donors who could power her coming presidential campaign... but her expensively laid plans unraveled as those potential contributors all but vanished. [She] raised less money from small contributors in her first quarter as a presidential candidate than she had in six of the eight previous quarters when she wasn’t running for president, according to federal campaign records. The poor showing has left the New York senator short on one of the Democratic National Committee’s key criteria-- having at least 65,000 donors-- to qualify for the party’s official debates that begin next month. And she has seen herself lapped in the small-donor chase by lesser-known names, including two Democratic neophytes, Andrew Yang, an entrepreneur with the tagline “humanity first” advocating a universal basic income, and Marianne Williamson, an author and spiritual guru."

So how is that possible? What about her or her campaign has turned off the party's grassroots. She claims it's discrimination against women, although Elizabeth Warren and Kamala Harris are doing extremely well and most of the other women running have surpassed her in terms of grassroots donors. Is it all because people are angry about how she treated Al Franken? I doubt people remember her earlier flip-flops, her days as a Blue Dog, her campaign against immigrants, her status as a spokesperson for the NRA or her dishonest advocacy for tobacco giants. This is a person unable to look inward, always blaming someone or something else for problems of her own making.

Goldmacher wrote that she's "reorganizing her online operations and trying to turn around her political and financial fortunes with her high-profile criticism of the new laws in Georgia, Alabama and other states that drastically restrict abortions. As she sounds the alarm, and raises money off her fight, she is trying to attract new supporters to a campaign in great need of them."
All told, 12 candidates have said they acquired at least 65,000 donors ahead of Ms. Gillibrand-- former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. announced doing it in less than 12 hours-- despite her decade-long standing as a senator for one of the most donor-rich Democratic states in the nation.

Missing the donor mark is just one aspect of a campaign that has struggled for traction from the outset. What little national attention Ms. Gillibrand did receive early on was often soaked up by old questions, from voters and the media, about her past, especially her switched positions on guns and immigration a decade ago, as well as her push in 2017 for Al Franken to resign from the Senate following accusations of sexual misconduct.

Mired near the bottom of most polls at 1 percent or less, she has drawn thinner crowds on the trail than the top contenders, and her televised CNN town hall event drew the worst ratings of any weekday town hall that the network has hosted. She has struggled to secure home-state support and also faced a complaint about her own office’s handing of a sexual harassment complaint that eventually resulted in the departure of the aide in question.

All the while, she spent 80 percent of every dollar she raised through March, among the field’s fastest spending rates.

“It is surprising to me she hasn’t resonated with the electorate,” said Patti Solis Doyle, a Democratic strategist and campaign manager for Hillary Clinton in 2008. “She’s had the resources, she’s had the time, she’s also had a national profile, particularly on issues that truly resonated at least in the 2018 midterms: a strong advocate on sexual harassment and women’s issue’s writ large.”

She has also run into some bad luck. Any would-be momentum from a small but splashy launch rally in March outside a Trump property in Manhattan was smothered when, hours later, the first summary of the special counsel’s report on Russian election interference was released. And her proposal for “democracy dollars”-- giving voters money to donate to campaigns-- came as news broke that the special counsel objected to that initial summary.

Ms. Gillibrand’s argument that she is the advocate in chief for women has been clouded by the fact that a historic number of women are running, including three Senate colleagues: Kamala Harris, Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar.

...Her campaign says she is connecting one voter at a time in coffee shops and living rooms. But in a celebrity-fueled climate dominated by mass media and viral moments online, it is not clear such a pathway exists in 2020. Ms. Gillibrand has taken to calling the primary a “marathon and not a sprint,” a tacit admission she has fallen behind.

...On the trail, Ms. Gillibrand has tried to put on a happy face. She has played beer pong in New Hampshire. She swapped dresses with a drag queen in Des Moines. She arm-wrestled with a college student in Ames, Iowa.

Still, the sting of failing to hit financial goals has been the source of particular consternation inside the campaign, people familiar with the operation said.

Ms. Gillibrand herself has long used her fund-raising as a measure of success. She wrote in her memoir, Off the Sidelines, that after she was appointed to the Senate to replace Mrs. Clinton in 2009, she changed her computer password to “3M1stQ” to serve as a constant reminder of her financial target: $3 million in the first quarter of the year.

A decade later, that is all she raised when running for president.

Her $3 million quarterly haul was about half of what some rivals raised in their first 24 hours.

Now, Ms. Gillibrand is making some changes. Her campaign is winding down the role for one of her longest-serving political and digital firms, Anne Lewis Strategies, where she spent $5.6 million in 2017 and 2018. That was nearly 60 cents of every dollar she spent, much of it to buy Facebook ads. Ms. Lewis’s firm received another $826,000 in Ms. Gillibrand’s first two-plus months as a presidential candidate-- by far her single largest expenditure.

...Gillibrand, who has run on the tagline “Brave wins,” has said she has suffered for calling for Mr. Franken to resign. “Democratic megadonors are blacklisting me because I refused to stay silent,” read online ads asking for $1 to ensure she makes the debates.

That didn't help her. It reminded voters that they love Franken and were pissed off that her never-ending opportunism drove him out of the Senate where he was needed far more than she is. Her Facebook ads were a waste of nearly a million dollars. She could have handed out $10 bills at her events instead and wound up with higher poll numbers. Her approach to 2020 campaigning is a decade out of date. Anne Lewis? Why? Is Gillibrand on autopilot? Neal Kwatra, a New York-based Democratic strategist, told Goldmacher that Gillibrand is "in a precarious place in a modern presidential campaign where we have elite consensus emerging about who the top-tier candidates are." No one thinks she is any longer. Can she turn that around?
Gillibrand has billed herself as an electable Democrat who won a conservative upstate New York House district in 2006. But that focus has highlighted how her stances then-- she had an A-rating from the National Rifle Association and spoke against illegal immigration-- contrast with her record now as a progressive senator who voted overwhelmingly against Mr. Trump’s nominees... [She] charged in a recent CNN interview that there was some “gender bias” among those who underestimate her. Jennifer Palmieri, who served as Mrs. Clinton’s communications director in 2016, agreed that there had been some biases at play.

“I think that the women candidates have a harder time of breaking through early,” Ms. Palmieri said. “Even though some of the men are fresh faces, we recognize them in a familiar role.”

Ms. Gillibrand is plowing ahead. After fund-raising in New York and Connecticut this weekend, she will campaign in Iowa each of the following three weeks.

“I have faith in the process,” she told reporters in New Hampshire recently, “and the American people.”
Those are the sounds of a sinking campaign. I'm not ready to bet money she'll be the first to drop out-- but she's definitely in contention. She's lucky that the Republican Party in New York is essentially dead and can't mount a credible statewide campaign any longer. Her next step will undoubtably be to cast herself as the victim/hero of the Republican jihad against women's Choice.

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At 9:32 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Short Bursts:

"This is a person unable to look inward, always blaming someone or something else for problems of her own making."

This nation already rejected the person who taught Gillibrand to be like this when she worked for Hillary.

"Her campaign says she is connecting one voter at a time in coffee shops and living is not clear such a pathway exists in 2020."

HOKUM! Have her ask AOC how she ended up winning her 2018 election by doing exactly that.

"...her never-ending opportunism drove [Franken] out of the Senate where he was needed far more than she is."

He certainly did know how to ask the tough questions. What tought question has Gillibrand ever asked?

"Her Facebook ads were a waste of nearly a million dollars. "

Then she has the wrong people running her communications. Do YOU want to hand her control of the Federal Government?

"She's lucky that the Republican Party in New York is essentially dead and can't mount a credible statewide campaign any longer."

SEE: the recent DWT post on the one-party government in Tennessee and ask if that is any better.

"Her next step will undoubtably be to cast herself as the victim/hero of the Republican jihad against women's Choice."

Without a credible Republican opponent? Only she could believe that canard.

At 6:12 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

SB covers most of it.

she seems to be a true protégée of the Clintons' strategery of triangulation -- taking disparate positions that will appeal to all voters (dumbest people in the history of earth). pro gun, hate, but her signature position as a woman, forcing Franken out, meant no doubt to appeal to women has backfired bigly. Not only have women found better, big donors have abandoned her. Franken, for all his sophomoric past, was well liked both by his peers and the voters on the left. Gillibrand is only tolerated because she adds to the democrap caucus number.

At 11:10 AM, Anonymous Mary from NYC said...

Gillibrand is a total phony. First she insisted that she would serve out her term if re-elected. Then shortly after the midterms, she said she was running for President.

Second, she says over and over how pro-choice she is and what a strong fighter she is for abortion rights. Yet, just last week, when the Senate had to vote on the confirmation of far right wing anti-abortion Judge Wendy Vitter to a lifetime appointment on the Federal Bench, Gillibrand didn't bother to show up to the Senate to vote against Judge Vitter's confirmation.

Third, Gillibrand rarely shows up to work anymore in the Senate but continues to cash her $175K paycheck on the backs of taxpayers.

Gillibrand is a phony and a fraud, and her constituents are disgusted with her.

At 4:23 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mary, the $175K is chump change. She's trying to raise 10s to 100s of millions to run... drop out and buy patronage from someone with what is left. But she can't waste megawhoring time by showing up in congress to vote or whatever.


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