Since a lot of people dismissed my claims that Franken dead-enders in the Democratic funding apparatus blew up Kirsten Gillibrand’s campaign, let me just state that Gillibrand’s people themselves believe this to be true.
She was repeatedly pressed on being the first Democratic senator to call for Franken to resign. Gillibrand defended the move, noting that eight women had accused the Minnesota Democrat of sexual misconduct, but said, “If a few Democratic donors are angry because I stood by eight women, that’s on them.”
Hours after Gillibrand’s announcement Wednesday night, both she and Franken trended on Twitter together, seemingly inextricably linked.
“Franken was definitely a problem in terms of fundraising,” the person familiar with the Gillibrand campaign said. “He just kept coming up, over and over again.”
Jen Palmieri, Clinton’s former communications director, said there was “no question” that the Franken ordeal had a “huge, outsized impact on her.”
“The sub-current of her entire candidacy was the Franken resignation and people unfairly pinning that on her,” Palmieri said. “It’s a crowded field, and it’s hard for all the candidates, but that really hampered her.”
Now, as I said last night, I don’t think this is only reason Gillibrand didn’t take off. Way too many Democrats think the only way to success is to happen to be from a deep blue city or state where you never have to moderate a position in order to win an election and thus question her positions because they have changed over time. And of course there are a lot of candidates. But I do think that without the Franken issue, she’s probably polling around Harris’ numbers, a serious candidate, if not a frontrunner. In that thread, was a lot of assuming that because she didn’t take off, it must be because of other internal flaws, which is a surprisingly naive take about how and why candidates do or don’t do well. In any case, the misogyny of Democratic voters and especially old rich ones is not something to underestimate, as we saw in the horrid comment thread last night and every other time anyone talks about this issue.