Kirsten Gillibrand ended her presidential campaign yesterday so we are now down to just 20 major Democratic candidates.
Though it may be hard to remember now but Gillibrand was a big deal in the early months of 2017. That was when she made a name for herself by voting against every single Trump cabinet nominee. At the time, she got the type of fawning coverage that, today, is usually reserved for Elizabeth Warren. Gillibrand was also the first Democratic presidential contender to regularly curse while giving interviews. The next time Beto strategically drops an F-bomb, remember that he’s ripping off Kirsten Gillibrand.
It’s easy to say that Gillibrand’s presidential campaign failed to catch on because donors never forgave her for leading the charge to pressure Al Franken into resigning his seat. I know just how easy it is because I said it on twitter right after I heard that Gillibrand was withdrawing from the race. It is true that, after Franken resigned, many Democratic donors did announce that they would never give money to Gillibrand. (I have honestly seen toddlers react to breaking a favorite toy with more maturity than many Democrats have shown over losing Al Franken.)
However, having watched her campaign for the last five months, I think there was another reason why Gillibrand never gained much momentum in the race. She was simply a terrible candidate. If Kirsten Gillibrand told you the sky was blue, you would still want to step outside and check before taking her word on it. If you offered her a big enough contribution, you could probably convince Gillibrand to flip and declare that the sky’s actually green and she only said it was blue because she was originally elected from a conservative, upstate district where voters were not smart enough to understand what colour the sky actually was.
With Gillibrand withdrawing, it falls upon Andrew Yang and Bill de Blasio to carry the banner of New York in the Democratic primary. Yang is perhaps the only interesting Democrat running this year and he doesn’t seem likely to drop out any time soon. As for de Blasio, dropping out would mean returning to New York City so it’s probably for the best that he stay in Iowa where no one knows him.