On Tuesday afternoon, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-NY) started trolling to prepare for her rumored run for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, tweeting, “Our future is Female. Intersectional.”
That does leave one entire gender out of Gillibrand’s vision of the future, but in order to gather the remnants of Hillary Clinton’s 2016 voter base for 2020, Gillibrand has to at least echo the strident feminism of Clinton, apparently. Additionally, her appeal to intersectionality, a term which is likely unfamiliar to voters 50 and above but quite familiar to college students, is a blatant appeal to garner the youth vote.
Gillibrand has been playing the feminist card for a while. In December 2017, President Trump tweeted, "Lightweight Senator Kirsten Gillibrand, a total flunky for Chuck Schumer and someone who would come to my office ‘begging’ for campaign contributions not so long ago (and would do anything for them), is now in the ring fighting against Trump. Very disloyal to Bill & Crooked-USED!”
Gillibrand then vented that Trump’s tweet was a “sexist smear.” She told GQ, “I couldn't even tell my children, because it was X-rated and so inappropriate. I don't want my children to even think in those terms, so I couldn't even describe what the president said.”
As GQ noted, “Ironically, the stance that may offer some peril for Gillibrand is the one on which she's been entirely consistent: calling out sexual misconduct. While her work on the issue has made her more relevant than ever, her outspokenness has been criticized for seeming calculated. After condemning Bill Clinton over the Lewinsky scandal, for instance, Gillibrand was met with charges of opportunism. Former Hillary Clinton adviser Philippe Reines tweeted at her, ‘Over 20 yrs you took the Clintons' endorsements, money, and seat. Hypocrite. Interesting strategy for 2020 primaries. Best of luck.’”
In March 2015, after former President Barack Obama’s State of the Union Address, Gillibrand boasted of taking a woman from Columbia University who had accused a male student of sexual assault to Obama’s address, writing:
Last night at the President’s State of the Union Address, I was honored to invite as my guest Emma Sulkowicz, the Columbia University student who has inspired us all with her performance art piece “Carry That Weight” in which she carries her mattress everywhere she goes to symbolize the burden she carries every single day as long as her rapist is still on campus.
But as The Atlantic pointed out, “The ‘rapist’ in question had already survived a campus disciplinary hearing—of the type sorely tilted against the accused—and was found ‘not responsible’ for the event; Sulkowicz had already ceased to pursue the report she had filed with the New York police.”
As far as intersectionality, Gillibrand is simply the latest in a long line of Democrats who wish to split the country into various imagined victimized groups so that they can offer their empathy and support to gain their votes.
Gillibrand’s dismissal of men may play well with her intended constituency among women, but there are surely some mothers who may resent Gillibrand’s shabby perspective when it comes to their sons.