Here’s What Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton Have in Common
The annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world compiled by Time magazine is meant to serve as a summation of those individuals whose opinions and actions are guiding history. It is true that the media plays a role in inflating their importance, and the role lists such Time’s play in defining who is an important figure at the global scale cannot be ignored completely. Yet, with the 2016 presidential election approaching, the reasons why the magazine named a number of U.S. politicians make for an interesting study.
Given the list’s limitations — it allows for only 100 individuals in a number of categories ranging from business to government to science to activism — the compilation significantly distills the major players behind global invents into series of names. But still, in a sense, it sets out those individuals who have serious political capital and media clout. The appearance of U.S. politicians like Kirsten Gillibrand and Scott Walker, who joined the list for the first time, as well as the inclusion of Rand Paul and Hillary Clinton, both of whom have be featured before, speaks to the pre-election mood of the United States. More specifically, these are the names being bandied about as possible contenders in the 2016 presidential race, or at least, its primaries.
1. Kirsten Gillibrand, junior U.S. Senator from New York and former Representative
“When she first ran for the House, I thought that race was impossible to win, but she never gave up and she did it. She has taken that same bright, tenacious spirit I saw in her as my intern to the House and then the Senate, serving her constituents and fighting hard on issues like sexual assault in the military,” former Senator Alfonse D’Amato, a Republican from New York, wrote of Gillibrand, a Democrat. “Don’t ever underestimate her. She can go as far as she likes. If Kirsten Gillibrand wants to be a rock star, she’ll be a rock star. But she’d make a great President. When she draws a line in the sand, everyone knows not to cross it.”
In 2012, Gillibrand raised huge sums of campaign funds for female candidates in close primary races like Democrat Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii and in long-shot reelection bids like Democrat Senator Claire McCaskill of Missouri. That fundraising effort has earned her a reputation, and at least one colleague has said she “has walked the walk and talked the talk in a place where talk is cheap.” That characterization may border on cliche, but it does serve to highlight the quality that seems to define her as a politician. In Gillibrand’s five years in the senate seat Hillary Clinton vacated to join President Barack Obama’s cabinet, she has proven herself to be an active politician in a Congress that has become famous for its inaction.
For Gillibrand, Hillary Clinton was more than just the senator that left empty a seat. Clinton — along with her husband, former president Bill Clinton — campaigned in her favor and raised money for her race — a practice Gillibrand has adopted. Her willingness to campaign for women on either side of the aisle, plus her legislative agenda, has drawn comparisons between Gillibrand and Clinton. They have both styled their political agendas to focus on what might be called promoting the power of women. An October edition of the National Journal emblazoned with the title “Building Kirsten Gillibrand” with “brand” highlighted that, “People call her the next Hillary Clinton.”