Senator Kirsten Gillibrand (D – NY), who announced her exploratory committee in January and who confirmed that she is a candidate for President on March 17, gave her first speech in that capacity on Sunday, March 24; standing, for emphasis, in front of Trump International Tower in Manhattan.
Many of the candidates in the Democratic primary have refrained from direct attacks on the incumbent President, preferring to build their own positive case for themselves.
Gillibrand, though, perhaps simply due to a need to differentiate herself from a large pack of such candidates, went after Trump, both in the location of the rally and in the content of her remarks. She called that building a “shrine to greed, division, and vanity,” and said that the President “is tearing apart the moral fabric of our country.”
Of course there can be a price to be paid for being the candidate who goes negative. But Gillibrand’s campaign is committed to making a bravery-versus-fear contrast. Her campaign video, “Brave Wins,” says “Brave doesn’t spread hate, cloud truth, build a wall. That’s what fear does.”
The Thing to Know:
In Gillibrand’s circumstances, the pluses of such a strategy may outweigh the risks. In a recent poll by the Des Moines Register of potential participants in the first contest of the 2020 campaign, the Iowa caucus, Gillibrand was “among the candidates who were not named by a single poll respondent as a first choice pick,” in the words of the Register’s story. She clearly needed to shake things up.