I know I've really not been spending a lot of time with the 2020 Democratic primary coverage, and in part it's because there are still too many candidates for my woeful attention span to keep up with, and it's still early days. But I want to talk a little bit about Kirsten Gillibrand leaving the race because I had high hopes for her. She was someone who, from her appointment to the Senate, struck me as having the kind of leadership qualities and relatability that really could take her to the White House. As a feminist, and as a liberal who believes in the representation of many voices, I wanted to see her do well in this race.
I think part of her failure to catch on was definitely due to people blaming her for Sen. Franken's resignation, and I am still mad that this falls on her like it was something she initiated and that it never would have happened but for her. If she wasn't the first person to call for it, would it have been Sen. Schumer? Would it have been Sen. McCaskill? Sen. Murray? Would Sen. Harris now be the one facing a possible 2020 election kneecapping?
There's no use in looking back in anger. You just never know what could have been, but what I do know is that Sen. Gillibrand, who cares about women's stories and has supported victim's rights, never was the first one to shaft a colleague expecting to capitalize on that or think it would make her a hero. Because you don't watch how other women are treated for speaking out again and again and develop that particular expectation about things. Calling her "ambitious" for that, or for her subsequent presidential run when that had long been in the cards for her is like saying ambition is wrong when women look up, and address what they find vexatious, or ask to see their talents fully realized.
There was nothing wrong in the political calculus she shared with many other knowledgeable politicians regarding this. There was nothing wrong with throwing her hat into this now-crowded ring, against a miserable incumbent that I fully understand why anyone might be chuffed at the possibility of beating. And I don't pin her lack of political traction on the Franken affair alone--it is hard to stand out in this particular crowd, and I am not the only person following politics who has a short attention-span.
So she will go on to serve out her time in a yet-long term, and I don't doubt she will do so with honor and distinction. I don't know that, all other things considered, she's going to be someone's idea of a running mate, but I want her in the Senate, still doing the job I know she does well.
Time, I think, is on her side. Even if right now, fate wasn't.