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A Long Talk With Kirsten Gillibrand

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The New York Times
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“Money is a symptom of the problem, it’s the love of money that’s the evil” in politics, says Kirsten Gillibrand, the New York senator running for president. “[I] recognized that a lot of the solutions that we had been offering over the last five or ten years weren’t enough,” she says, “weren’t bold enough, weren’t significant enough to actually address their lives.”I was just rereading a Times story about you, from July, in which you said you’re a “populist.” That’s now a popular way for candidates to describe themselves, but it’s also a complicated term. And you need the entire populace — the people — to be the ones to fight back, and to displace that power structure, and restore it to the people.Historically, both in this country and elsewhere, populism usually involves talking about some specific bad guy, or bad actor, though, right? In fact, he’s lined his Cabinet with people who will double down on the corruption and greed in Washington, and who will continue to fuel that fire.You’ve said that you believe money is the root of all the ills of politics.It is, because money is the corrupting influence. If you could run all federal elections on $7 a person, it would change everything.Your involvement in politics began with organizing fundraisers when you were practicing law, so does any part of you worry you’re talking about limiting an access point for the next Kirsten Gillibrand?No. Because when I was a young activist in New York City I organized women, and I organized lawyers, other young lawyers like me. So it’s the same thing: If you get money out of politics, you’re still going to do the same kind of organizing, you’re going to get large groups of people to care about what you’re doing and why you’re doing it. Which is why this last campaign for Senate I worked really hard on making sure our last campaign was really a grassroots campaign.That race wasn’t really competitive, of course.No [it wasn’t], but we still raised $20 million, which is quite a lot of money for a race in New York that doesn’t have a tough opponent. I think that’s the future.When you went on Maddow after announcing you were going to run, her intro to the interview was all about how you were once fairly conservative on a whole range of issues — prominently on guns and immigration — and how you’ve shifted left on all of them. So I’m walking around the district with a toddler — Theo was 4, Henry was just a baby — and we learned something in politics: that you cannot win a campaign [against a mother] with a toddler and an infant on negative campaign ads, because nobody believes you.As far as the policy shifts go, I know you’ve said over and over that the district is very different from New York as a whole …Correct, and so when I became senator ten years ago, I realized that only protecting the Second Amendment and, you know, hunters’ rights, wasn’t enough, and that I needed to really absorb the pain and suffering and challenges of other communities that had deep gun violence and gang violence, and meeting even just one family who had lost a daughter when a stray bullet hit her in the head, and meeting her whole class, made me recognize immediately that I had to be a champion for her. And that meant writing my first piece of legislation on ending gun violence, which was an anti-trafficking law, because Commissioner [Ray] Kelly — at the time, our New York City police commissioner — along with a lot of parents who had lost their children said: This is the thing. Put another way, I guess: Do you like using legislation like this for other big-picture progressive policy priorities that aren’t explicitly about climate?I love the framework of the Green New Deal, and the reason is this: I believe that global climate change is the greatest threat to humanity that exists in our generation, and it needs a bold and powerful set of solutions to actually attack it, and to solve it. Kennedy said, “We’re going to put a man on the moon in the next ten years not because it’s easy but because it’s hard,” it was a call to action for every engineer, scientist, young kid to say, “I want to dream big, and we are going to accomplish this as a measure of who we are as a nation, our strength and ingenuity, our innovation.” I think we need to do the same thing.So there’s three things in the Green New Deal. This is going to be the thing that defines who we are.” Just as John Kennedy’s defining moment was this moon shot, I want my defining moment to be how we restore this country to a green economy, and how we attack global climate change as the humanitarian crisis that it is.The thing I would add to the Green New Deal is I would put a price on carbon. People will innovate because they want to save money, and they want to have an economic advantage.How capitalist.Let’s use market forces to create investment and, you know, there’s nothing socialist about it. If you don’t care about those children and that family, and if you don’t care about the people who died in California, then you’re not doing your job as the president or the leader of this country.It’s been 14 months since Al Franken resigned from the Senate. The decision I made was whether to stay silent and defend him, and I didn’t think it was defensible.You were clear about all of that at the time, but …Yeah.… But it’s been over a year, and, again, people still talk about it in the context of your candidacy, whether in national commentary or on the trail. And I think it’s important that when allegations come forward that they are taken seriously, that they’re believed so they can be investigated, that investigations need to take place, and that we need to get facts. Representative Ayanna Pressley, Democrat of Massachusetts, said she told leadership that there must be “equity in our outrage,” noting that Ms. Omar, a Minnesotan and one of the first two Muslim women elected to Congress, was being attacked for her faith.Bloomberg(’s Money) 2020Michael Bloomberg announced yesterday that he would not run for president, but would devote some of his considerable economic firepower to helping elect Democrats next year. Yes, his poll numbers in early states were nothing to write home about, and he had higher disapproval numbers than almost any other DemocratBiden is the main *potential* beneficiary, if only because he’s now the sole claimant to the “centrist savior” mantle that both he and Bloomberg have been wrestling over.Along with Klobuchar, and possibly Beto.I doubt Bloomberg will try to weigh in too heavily in the primary in any other direction, so I don’t think his money and resources are going to be too relevant to begin. Unclear if that means much in terms of voters.Bruce Reed was also advising Tom Steyer, so take from that what you will.On the other hand, both Bernie and Warren loved the idea of running against Bloomberg, so they’re the ones who are most obviously hurt here, at least in terms of losing a foil.Does Bloomberg’s exit say anything about the limits of huge money in presidential politics?Don’t think so. When they failed, they basically just threw up their hands and directed a lot of money to anti-Hillary super PACs. Bloomberg is a bit more forward-facing than a lot of these people, of course.The thing about the Bloomberg news is that, though few Democrats will say it out loud right now because of the taboo on talking positively re: money in politics, they’re pretty uniformly happy with the prospect of him pouring a ton of money into their 2020 efforts, without his own messy candidacy complicating things.I’m also aware that you and I both think a contested convention is more feasible in 2020 than at any time in living memory (feasible, not likely). Does the presence of someone like Bloomberg, whom I guess is more old-school in his political strategies, with a gazillion dollars to spend on the general election affect the evolution of strategy?Ed has fully taken over this chat, and as the kids say, “I’m here for it.”Well, every campaign will realistically be focusing more on digital than ever before, but that’s a long-term trend. So I can relate.Nice analogy, Ed. A sign that it’s lunchtime on the West Coast.What’s the opposite of a “must-see”?Man who said there were “very fine people on both sides” in Charlottesville is deeply concerned about anti-SemitismArizona senator says she was sexually assaulted while serving in militarySen. Martha McSally, during an emotional hearing, Senate Armed Services subcommittee hearing on Wednesday, said a superior Air Force officer raped her.McSally, the first female fighter pilot to fly during combat told lawmakers that she was “preyed upon and raped by a superior officer.”“I stayed silent for many years, but later in my career, as the military grappled with the scandals and their wholly inadequate responses, I felt the need to let some people know I too was a survivor. Thirty-five Democratic senators (out of 48 Democrats total) and 168 Democratic House Reps (out of 235) are sponsors or co-sponsors.Nielsen gets a grilling from House DemocratsHouse Democrats repeatedly clashed with Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen over whether detention facilities for migrant children separated from their families at the U.S.-Mexico border are akin to cages.Representative Bonnie Watson Coleman of New Jersey asked Nielsen at a House Homeland Security Committee hearing on Wednesday what made the detention centers for children different from “cages you’d put your dogs in.”Nielsen said they were “larger,” had “facilities” and provide “room to sit, to stand, to lay down.”Committee Chairman Bennie Thompson told Nielsen that he wanted her to “admit that the cages exist” and cautioned her to not mislead the committee.DNC rejects FNCA novel theory for why Trump paid Stormy Daniels to keep quiet about their affairI honestly think this president loves his family. I think he loves his family and I don’t think he wanted his family to go through this.Charges dropped against Aaron SchockIn a surprise move for a high-profile public corruption case, federal prosecutors in Chicago have agreed to drop all charges against former U.S. Rep. Aaron Schock if he pays back money he owes to the Internal Revenue Service and his campaign fund.The stunning deal, known as a deferred prosecution agreement, was announced Wednesday during what was supposed to be a routine status hearing for Schock before U.S. District Judge Matthew Kennelly.According to the agreement, Schock, 37, must pay $42,000 to the IRS and $68,000 to his congressional campaign fund. If he does so — and stays out of any new trouble — prosecutors would drop all felony counts against Schock, leaving him with a clean record.Brazil’s new far-right president out-crazies Trump by posting a graphic photo of a man urinating on another man to illustrate the decadence of Brazilian CarnivalGood news, America: A book about the deranged Qanon conspiracy theory is lighting up the Amazon book chartsPeace-loving Republicans are going to town on Ilhan OmarThe drawn-out saga at Masterpiece Cakeshop is overThe court struggles between the state’s Civil Rights Commission and a little cake shop in Lakewood will cease after Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser announced a truce between state agencies and Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop.Phillips sued the Civil Rights Commission to ask they never be allowed to bring a discrimination suit again against his shop after the Supreme Court ruled last year that the commission had mishandled the case - punting any far-reaching decisions about religious freedom and business owners. He filed a federal suit complaining that the Civil Rights Commission was harassing him and asked they be barred from bringing complaints against his business in the future.The state Attorney General’s office said Phillips will voluntarily drop his federal lawsuit and the stat’s commission will dismiss their administrative action against Masterpiece Cakeshop and Phillips.Classy anti-gun reform tactics on display in New Hampshire yesterdayFor a lot of workers, there’s a big catch to Amazon’s wage increasesIn response to public pressure and increasing scrutiny over the pay of its warehouse workers, Amazon enacted a $15 minimum wage for all its employees on 1 November, including workers at grocery chain Whole Foods which it purchased in 2017.All Whole Foods employees paid less than $15 an hour saw their wages increase to at least that, while all other team members received a $1-an-hour wage increase and team leaders received a $2-an-hour increase.But since the wage increase, Whole Food employees have told the Guardian that they have experienced widespread cuts that have reduced schedule shifts across many stores, often negating wage gains for employees.“My hours went from 30 to 20 a week,” said one Whole Foods employee in Illinois.The new GOP stonewalling strategy extends to JaredThe top White House lawyer on Tuesday said the Trump administration will refuse to provide Congress with information about senior adviser Jared Kushner’s security clearance, slamming House Democrats for “overly intrusive document requests.”White House Counsel Pat Cipollone said the administration would brief the House Oversight Committee about the White House’s process for granting security clearances, but he balked at the committee’s demand for information specific to Kushner, setting up a potential subpoena fight between the powerful House panel and the White House.“These actions suggest that the Committee is not interested in proper oversight, but rather seeks information that it knows cannot be provided consistent with applicable law,” Cipollone wrote in a letter to Oversight Committee Chairman Elijah Cummings.

As said here by Gabriel Debenedetti