Sen. Gillibrand Formally Announces Presidential Campaign

March 17, 2019 Updated: March 17, 2019

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) formally launched her presidential campaign on March 17, with an announcement in a video posted on Twitter.

The message concludes with an invitation to her kickoff campaign speech in front of Trump International tower in New York City on March 24.

Most of the senator’s kickoff video targets President Donald Trump. The suggestively edited footage casts a negative light on the president that largely aligns with the attacks on him by establishment media outlets.

In the video, the senator from New York embraces several socialist policy proposals, including universal health care and the Green New Deal. Gillibrand has co-sponsored both the Green New Deal resolution and the “Medicare for All” legislation in Congress, which are fervently promoted by both the Communist Party USA and the Democratic Socialists of America, the largest socialist group in the United States.

“We launched ourselves into space and landed on the moon. If we can do that, we can definitely achieve universal health care,” Gillibrand said in the video. “We can provide paid family leave for all, end gun violence, pass a Green New Deal, get money out of politics, and take back our democracy.”

Gillibrand already has been campaigning in key states that hold early Democratic primary contests. In an average of public opinion polls tallied by Real Clear Politics, she has earned less than 1 percent support, far behind socialist Sen. Bernard Sanders (I-Vt.), who is polling at 22 percent. Former Vice President Joe Biden is leading in the polls with 29 percent, but hasn’t yet announced his candidacy.

Gillibrand was more fiscally conservative as a member of the House of Representatives, but her positions shifted far to the left since she was appointed to fill the Senate seat vacated by Hillary Clinton, who became President Barack Obama’s secretary of state. In key Senate votes in 2018, Gillibrand voted in favor of economic freedom 29 percent of the time, according to a scorecard maintained by FreedomWorks. Sanders received the same 29 percent rating.

Gillibrand then won the seat in a special election and was re-elected to six-year terms in 2012 and 2018. She has attributed the ideology shift to representing a liberal state versus a more conservative district.

Gillibrand joins a crowded field of Democratic contenders. Former Rep. Robert “Beto” O’Rourke (D-Texas) announced his bid days before Gillibrand.

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Chrome Horse Saloon, on Feb. 18, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to guests during a campaign stop at the Chrome Horse Saloon, on Feb. 18, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand speaks to the press during a campaign stop at the Chrome Horse Saloon, on Feb. 18, 2019, in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

All of the Democrats who have formally announced their candidacy and are polling above 1 percent have officially sponsored the socialist Green New Deal resolution, suggesting that the proposal is a litmus test for Democratic candidates.

The Green New Deal calls for forcing the United States to abandon fossil fuels by taking all gas-engine cars off the road and rebuilding or replacing every home and commercial building in America. In addition to enabling unprecedented government expansion into the private sector, the Green New Deal calls for a Soviet-Union-style 10-year national mobilization that would cost U.S. taxpayers an estimated $93 trillion or $650,000 per household.

Gillibrand suggested in an interview with New York Magazine that there is “nothing socialist” about the Green New Deal.

With the exception of O’Rourke and Sanders, all of the Democratic 2020 candidates have distanced themselves from the socialist label. In the meantime, Trump and Republicans have ramped up their criticism of socialism, lambasting it as a failed and deadly ideology that would bankrupt the nation.

“Under the guise of Medicare for All and a Green New Deal, Democrats are embracing the same tired economic theories that have impoverished nations and stifled the liberties of millions over the past century. That system is socialism,” Vice President Mike Pence said March 1.

Only 18 percent of Americans view socialism in a positive light, according to a poll by The Wall Street Journal and ABC News. Americans’ support for socialist policies is also low once they learn of their nature. A study by the Kaiser Family Foundation showed that support for Medicare for All dropped from 62 to 44 percent once the policy was referred to as “socialized medicine.”

Support for Medicare for All dropped from 56 percent to 37 percent once people learned that it would lead to higher taxes.

Reuters contributed to this report.

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