George Soros is mad. Susie Tompkins Buell hasn’t forgiven her. Other Democratic mega-donors are still burning with anger over Al Franken, too. But Kirsten Gillibrand is doing just fine without them.
The New York senator, who’s expected to launch a presidential campaign soon, can’t go anywhere without hearing the noise about her decision—now more than a year ago—to call for Franken to go in a #MeToo scandal. But the numbers tell a different story: Gliding to another term in November, she put $17.5 million in the bank in the past two years, more than any other potential presidential contender in the Senate aside from Elizabeth Warren. Gillibrand is finishing the year with $10.5 million in the bank that can be transferred right into a 2020 run, only $2 million behind Warren. She raised $5.5 million in low-dollar donations, behind only Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Her online fund-raising even spiked last December, though that was in part due to a tweet from President Donald Trump, angry to see the television coverage saying he should resign because of his affairs with women.
There’s reaction, and there’s reality. In politics, especially around a presidential campaign, they can get blurred. Even in a Democratic Party trying to get back to its roots, the year since Franken quit is a demonstration of just how much it can be defined by a few rich and famous people and a media narrative. Just this past weekend, the CNN host Van Jones prefaced a question about Franken to Gillibrand by saying, “A lot of people were frustrated with you.”