July 19, 2019

Kirsten Gillibrand's Losing Brand of Feminism

“The polls trickling in after last month’s Democratic debate show that New York Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand received absolutely no bump from her lively performance. Around 1 percent of voters supported her bid for the presidency before the event — and 1 percent did so after.

She is an attractive and well-spoken candidate who had generated high expectations. Why is she flailing? Essentially because she is selling a brand of feminism with little resonance beyond Facebook CEO Sheryl Sandberg’s white professional female devotees, especially when the country is preoccupied with so many other pressing issues.

Gillibrand declared in her closing statement that this is “not the time” for Americans “to be afraid of firsts” because they “need a president who will take on challenges, even if she stands alone.” If this sounds like she is making her gender a resume item, that’s because she is.

She wasn’t always this way. In an earlier incarnation, she was a career lawyer who represented Phillip Morris, the tobacco giant, for what liberals consider crimes against humanity. Yet, interestingly, she failed to target Big Tobacco when she attacked insurance companies, drug manufacturers, and the National Rifle Association (NRA) for “corporate greed” during the debate. She was also pro-gun and anti-immigration which is why she handily defeated her Republican rivals in an upstate New York congressional district where few thought a Democrat could ever win. She was also part of the Blue Dog Democrats House coalition that voted against President Obama’s financial bailout because it was fiscally irresponsible.”

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