Left Menu
Development News Edition

Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country

Reuters | Washington DC | Updated: 14-07-2019 15:59 IST | Created: 14-07-2019 15:30 IST
Struggling in White House bid, Democrat Gillibrand seeks bump in Trump country
Image Credit: Wikimedia

U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand rolled through Pennsylvania, Ohio and Michigan last week on a bus emblazoned with "He broke it, we'll fix it," as part of a campaign tour highlighting what she called President Donald Trump's "broken promises" to the region.

Gillibrand told laid-off auto workers in Youngstown, Ohio, and healthcare workers in Pittsburgh she would repair the damage of Trump's presidency if voters choose her as the Democratic nominee to take him on in November 2020. But to do that, she will require a significant boost. The New York senator is stuck in the bottom of national polls of the field's 25 candidates, and time is running out.

Posing for selfies with voters after a town hall on gun violence in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, on Friday, Gillibrand said she needed thousands of more supporters to qualify for the third Democratic primary debate in mid-September. "I've got a month and a half to accomplish that," she said in an interview with Reuters. "It's a heavy lift, but I'm going to do it."

To earn a spot in the September debate, candidates must draw at least 2% support in four national or early-voting state polls, and have 130,000 unique donors, including 400 in 20 separate states. Gillibrand failed to catch fire after a spirited performance during the first televised debate in June. She remained at just 1% support among Democratic voters in a Reuters/Ipsos poll taken June 29-July 2 and was below 1% in an NBC/WSJ poll released on Thursday.

Gillibrand's campaign did not disclose her latest fundraising total ahead of the second-quarter filing deadline on Monday, a likely sign she did not raise as much money as many of her opponents. In any other election cycle, Gillibrand and rivals including fellow Senators Amy Klobuchar and Cory Booker, as well as former Obama administration housing chief Julian Castro, would be top-tier candidates, Democratic strategists said.

But she is in a crowded field competing for donors and media attention with nationally known contenders like former Vice President Joe Biden and Senator Bernie Sanders. "I don't think it's a reflection of a bad campaign or a poor candidate," said Doug Thornell with SKDKnickerbocker, a Democratic strategy firm founded by Obama administration veterans. "If history is any guide, she should have an opportunity to get a second look."

SEARCHING FOR A SECOND LOOK Gillibrand, 52, sought that second look in three Midwestern states Trump wrested from Democrats in the 2016 presidential election, touting a political resume she cited as proof she could win over more conservative and swing voters.

Before joining the Senate, she represented a heavily Republican congressional district in upstate New York that she was told she could not win as a Democrat. After being appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated when Hillary Clinton became Barack Obama's secretary of state, Gillibrand was re-elected in a 2010 special election. She won full terms in 2012 and 2018 when she carried nearly every county, including 18 Trump won in 2016.

While Gillibrand is best known nationally for her work addressing sexual assault in the military and her call for former Democratic Senator Al Franken to resign over sexually inappropriate conduct, she notes she has spent the past decade on agriculture and infrastructure panels. At modestly sized campaign events, Gillibrand took notes in a leatherbound notebook and said her "superpower" is the ability to find common ground on any political issue with anyone, anywhere. Gillibrand leaned on her experience as a mother of 11- and 15-year-old sons to explain racial disparities in marijuana sentencing and "white privilege" to a mother who said white voters are also suffering. At more than one event she said her New York district was not unlike the Midwestern areas in which she campaigned.

"There is no substitute for just showing up, meeting voters, telling them about your vision and listening to them and their concerns," Gillibrand said during her Reuters interview. "I don't have unanimous name recognition," she added, "so it's going to take me a long time to introduce myself to places around this country."

Political strategist Karen Finney, a spokeswoman for Clinton's 2016 presidential campaign, said Gillibrand's slow-and-steady campaigning could lead to the breakout she needs - if she has the time and money. Finney said the fight Gillibrand showed in her first congressional race could enable her to persevere long enough to draw voters in with a bold policy proposal or to make the case why she is best to take on Trump.

"I think part of what people liked is she didn't back down, she didn't take no for an answer, so part of it reminds people what they like about you," Finney said. Nearly every voter who spoke to Reuters at Gillibrand's events said they were in the window-shopping phase.

Jaladah Aslam, a labour and political consultant who introduced Gillibrand at the Youngstown event, was among the undecided. Afterwards, she praised Gillibrand's performance, noting she saw people nodding and liking what they heard. "She was prepared," Aslam said. "She wasn't stumbling. I loved when she started taking notes. Thank God someone is actually listening and not coming here to give us a political speech."



Pandemic must be impetus, not obstacle, for clean water access

To make matters worse, there are suspicions that the inadequacy of wastewater treatment methods in California, the rest of the USA, and indeed around the world may help to propagate the disease even more widely. ...

3D printing and the future of manufacturing post COVID-19

The on-demand, customizable, and localized manufacturing of product components facilitated by 3D printing has the potential to redefine manufacturing but there are certain technical, mechanical, and legal limitations that, unless ...

How UK’s 'best prepared' healthcare system failed to gauge COVID-19

The UK is proud of their public health system and its unlike any other country as around 90 percent of British public supports the founding principles of National Health Service. But without accurate data being available to stakeholders in ...

Poor on IHR capacity progress in 2019, WHO says Cambodia tops COVID-19 response

Despite being in proximity to Hubei, the original epicenter of COVID-19 pandemic, Cambodia has reported just 226 confirmed cases and zero deaths. After seeing the data, WHO appreciated Cambodias healthcare information system but experts dou...


Latest News

Chicco India expects sales to return to pre-COVID-19 level by October

Hoping to turn the coronavirus crisis into an opportunity to improve its operations, baby care products maker Chicco India has said it is expecting its sales to return to pre-COVID-19 level by October this year. The impact of COVID-19 has b...

Kozhikode crash: Airlines staff gather at Delhi airport to pay respect to deceased co-pilot

Around 200 pilots and ground staff of various airlines gathered at the airport and paid their respects when the mortal remains of co-pilot Akhilesh Kumar, who died in the Kozhikode flight crash, reached Delhi in the early hours of Sunday, o...

6 deaths, 596 more COVID-19 cases in Rajasthan

Rajasthan has reported 596 new COVID-19 positive cases and six deaths, taking the total positive cases and deaths to 51,924 and 784 respectively, according to the State Health Department.The active cases in the state stand at 13,847, accord...

Japan's Abe to avoid visit to war-linked shrine on 75th war anniversary-Jiji

Prime Minister Shinzo Abe will refrain from visiting the Yasukuni shrine for war dead on the 75th anniversary of Japans defeat in World War Two, Jiji news agency said on Sunday, but will make an offering on the emotive day, as he has done i...

Give Feedback