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The Misogyny Tax

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Kirsten Gillibrand is paying it:

Just a month after Al Franken formally resigned from the Senate amid sexual misconduct allegations, the former senator met with an intimate group of Bay Area supporters at the home of major Democratic Party financiers Mary and Steve Swig.

As Franken and his wife, Franni Bryson, made the rounds, thanking supporters in the philanthropists’ San Francisco home at the February 2018 event, the conversation broke off into another subject: Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. The New York Democrat had, in their opinion, pulled the rug out from under Franken, a senator beloved by the group, forcing him out without any real vetting of the allegations facing him.

“It was said not in front of Al to impress him; it was said privately in a corner. A group of us were standing there talking about it. He was one of our best weapons against this administration, his presence on these committees. [Gillibrand] did the damage that Republicans could not do themselves,” one of the attendees told POLITICO. “There were other people at this event who were saying the same thing. They said, ‘Absolutely, I will never do anything for her.’”

Today, nearly a year after Gillibrand led the charge in calling for Franken’s resignation, the anger is fresh on the minds of major donors across the country.

More than a dozen prominent West Coast, New York and national donors and bundlers — many of them women — said they would never again donate to or fundraise for Gillibrand or would only do so if she ended up as the Democratic presidential nominee.

Gillibrand has defended her approach by insisting she placed deeply held personal values over party loyalty. But the still-burning resentment among the donor class now confronts Gillibrand as she explores a presidential bid, cutting her off from influential and deep-pocketed contributors and their networks at a time when an expansive 2020 field will compete for their dollars.

We’ve been through this before, but this demonization of Gillibrand is ridiculous, for the reasons that 1)she was obviously right on the merits, and 2)clearly had the ex ante support of the party’s leadership. This is a depressing example of how sexist hierarchies replicate themselves (with many affluent women among the collaborators.)

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