"Carer-feeder": Gillibrand plays up motherhood in 2020 race

She opens her standard campaign speech vowing to “fight for your children as hard as I would fight for my own.” She’s floated the idea of making an RV trip through Iowa this summer, to be able to prepare meals for her family while she travels to meet supporters. During her first week as a candidate, she baked cookies with a voter, dismissing any complexity in the symbolism. And on a recent Tuesday evening, she even invited a reporter into her Capitol Hill home for dinner with her family.

It’s all a far cry from the not-so-distant past, where being a mother of young children was viewed as much as a complication as an asset in politics.

“There was a time when a mom with young children absolutely couldn’t run for an executive office. People wondered who would come first, the kids or us,” said Celinda Lake, a Democratic pollster. “But things have really changed. For Gillibrand, it’s not just that ‘I’m a mom.’ It’s a metaphor. It’s a way of talking about the future, a way of talking about her orientation.”