Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand launched a presidential exploratory committee Tuesday night, joining the crowded Democratic hunt to win the White House in 2020.
The New York Democrat, a longtime advocate for women in politics and a leader in the #MeToo movement supporting survivors of sexual assault, announced her decision to run for president on CBS’ “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” saying she will “fight for other people’s kids as hard as I would fight for my own.”
Gillibrand’s first week in the campaign will include a debut visit to Iowa, the first caucus state. On Friday, Gillibrand will hold an event in Sioux City, followed by stops in Ames, Des Moines and Cedar Rapids throughout the weekend.
It would have been easy for Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) to rest on her laurels at the town hall she held at Hudson Valley Community College in Troy, New York, on Wednesday. In the wake of the narrow defeat of the Republican “skinny repeal” of the Affordable Care Act, she received two standing ovations from a packed house before she even began to speak. (It seems unlikely that the senators who went down with Mitch McConnell’s ship, like Dean Heller and Jeff Flake, would get a similar reception.) But she had a more ambitious agenda in mind. Before taking questions, she celebrated the defeat of ACA repeal but quickly observed that it was not enough: Too many people still couldn’t afford insurance. And making a point she would return to repeatedly for the next hour, she identified her preferred solution: Medicare for all.
I have no idea if Gillibrand is running for president or what her chances of winning the Democratic nomination would be if she does run. But it is becoming increasingly clear that the 2020 Democratic nominee will support Medicare for all or a similar program as the ultimate goal for health-care reform, even if it’s not Gillibrand or longtime single-payer advocate Bernie Sanders. And on Wednesday Gillibrand made the case for the policy very effectively.
Finally, there are perfectly good reasons to prefer other candidates. “But AL FRANKEN!!!!!!” is an extremely dumb one.