Good morning, Broadsheet readers! J.C. Penney is back from the brink, ex-spy Valerie Plame runs for Congress, and Kamala Harris makes a big announcement. Have a good Wednesday.
- So long, Sen. Harris. The Democratic field for 2020 got smaller, whiter, and less female yesterday, when Sen. Kamala Harris announced that she is withdrawing from the presidential race.
While the news was apparently a surprise even to campaign insiders (Harris had a fundraiser scheduled for Tuesday that was cancelled just hours in advance), the media has been covering the campaign's unraveling for the past few weeks—perhaps most notably in a New York Times story published last Friday and titled, well, "How Kamala Harris's Campaign Unraveled."
So, what was it that doomed her bid? Certainly the obvious factor is money, the lifeblood of political campaigns. Harris cited lack of funds as the official reason behind her exit, saying in a video message, "I’m not a billionaire. I can’t fund my own campaign.” (I enjoyed seeing her throw a final elbow on her way out the door!)
But the lack of funding is certainly indicative of other, less clearly defined issues, and the hot takes are flying fast and furious online. Among the more commonly cited problems: flip-flopping on healthcare, focusing on the wrong early primary states, failing to convince voters that a black woman is "electable" against President Trump, lacking a clear constituency, possibly endangering her California seat, being overhyped by the media, being unfairly covered by the media (as cited by Democratic candidate Julian Castro and others), the list goes on.
Harris's exit changes the dynamic in what has been a Democratic field boasting a record number of women and people of color. She had qualified for the December debate, and without her presence, the stage may very well be down to four white men and two white women. So, whether Harris was your candidate or not, this seems like right moment to celebrate the barriers she broke as a black woman who was at one point a frontrunner for the Democratic presidential nomination—and to mourn a historically diverse race becoming ever less so.
Today's Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Decade in review. As we close out 2019, Fortune published a round-up of our most interesting interviews of the decade. Take a look for interviews throughout the 2010s with Indra Nooyi, Anita Hill, and even mid-downfall Elizabeth Holmes. Fortune
- Yesterday at Google... The four engineers fired by Google for "data security violations" related to their workplace activism—which has included the employee pushback against Google's handling of sexual harassment allegations—are asking the National Labor Relations Board to investigate the company for "quashing workplace organizing." Google has a lot going on: co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin stepped down as CEO and president, respectively, of Alphabet yesterday, with Google CEO Sundar Pichai taking over the parent company.
- Close call. J.C. Penney came close to delisting from the New York Stock Exchange when its shares traded under $1 each. But the company, led through its turnaround by CEO Jill Soltau, has come back from the brink. Shares closed November at $1.13. Fortune
- Confirmation watch. This week, Senate Republicans are set to confirm Sarah Pitlyk as a lifetime federal judge on the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Missouri. Pitlyk is a strong anti-abortion advocate—and has also made some even more controversial comments about fertility treatments and surrogacy. In a 2017 amicus brief opposing a California statute protecting the right to technologies like IVF, Pitlyk argued that fertility treatments had "grave effects on society, including diminished respect for motherhood and the unique mother-child bond." HuffPost
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Eileen Murray stepped down as co-CEO of Bridgewater Associates, the world's largest hedge fund. Unilever promoted EVP of Unilever Middle Europe Conny Braams to chief digital and marketing officer. British insurance sector exec and advocate for workplace diversity Amanda Blanc joined the board of Aviva. The American Exploration & Production Council named longtime Congressional leadership aide Anne Bradbury CEO. Paradigm's Erin L. Thomas joined Upwork as head of diversity, inclusion, and belonging. Google hired Facebook product management director for health Hema Budaraju as director of product management working on social impact at Google Maps. At OODA Health, Ginger chief people officer Traunza Adams joins as VP of people and Omada Health COO Jocelyn Ding joins as operations fellow.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Passport, please. The U.K. Home Office has refused to allow applicants who don't identify as male or female to apply for passports categorized as gender-neutral. Activist Christie Elan-Cane is bringing forward a legal challenge that says that refusal is a breach of human rights. Ten countries issue gender-neutral travel documents, and some U.S. states have started to offer gender-neutral drivers' licenses and birth certificates. Guardian
- CIA to Congress. Valerie Plame had her life upended—and covert CIA identity exposed—when a conservative columnist revealed she worked for the agency on nuclear nonproliferation after her husband accused the Bush administration of manipulating intelligence to make it seem as if Saddam Hussein had a nuclear weapon. Now she's running for Congress, competing for a rare open seat in New Mexico. Washington Post
- Passing the smell test. Glossier is moving into department stores—for one product only. The buzzy online beauty brand will sell its perfume in Nordstrom locations, since customers "understandably prefer" to buy perfume in person, Glossier founder and CEO Emily Weiss says. CNBC
- Customer's always right. IBM, led by Ginni Rometty, is the latest company to advocate for a carbon tax. Fortune's Katherine Dunn examines how the carbon tax became a mainstream proposal and why IBM made the move. Employee activism is one reason—but what customers want is more important. Fortune
ON MY RADAR
How to know if your significant other is an undercover sexist Zora
Trump can't really pretend not to know Prince Andrew The Cut
First ever Apple Music Awards honors Billie Eilish and Lizzo with top awards Fortune
"I thought I did pretty well. But I didn’t think I was the greatest at anything."
-10-time Grammy winner Linda Ronstadt
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