The American people are a bit more familiar with Tulsi Gabbard today than they were prior. In case you missed it, the 38-year-old United States Representative from Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district absolutely ripped Hillary Clinton on social media yesterday. That’s not exactly something most people would expect from a Democrat seeking the party’s nomination for President of the United States in 2020.
Yet, it was Clinton who — without naming names — suggested that Russia is “grooming” Gabbard to be a “third-party candidate” in an effort to keep Trump in the White House:
“I’m not making any predictions, but I think they’ve got their eye on someone who’s currently in the Democratic primary and are grooming her to be the third-party candidate. She’s the favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting her so far.”
Not only was Gabbard’s response swift and to the point, but she didn’t mince words either as she called Hillary Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long”. Gabbard even extended the invitation for Clinton to, “Don’t cowardly hide behind your proxies. Join the race directly.”
The Tulsi Gabbard 2020 Campaign is even fundraising off the feud.
In the hours that have ensued, other Democratic candidates have defended Gabbard, Clinton backed out of an event that was set to include Gabbard (supposedly because of a scheduling conflict), and the Representative from Hawaii even appeared on Tucker Carlson. It’s also worth noting that both MSNBC and CNN avoided reporting Clinton’s conspiratorial accusations during their primetime hours of viewership.
For those even a little bit familiar with Tulsi Gabbard, none of this comes as a shock. In some respects, she simply doesn’t fit the current mold of her own party.
Take, for example, her stance on foreign policy. Gabbard is a vocal critic of interventionism and “regime change”. She rightfully points out that there’s little difference between the two parties on this issue. And she’s promised to reject the “foreign policy establishment” if she becomes president.
Then there’s abortion. Gabbard, while largely pro-choice, does favor regulation. As she recently expressed on the Rubin Report, she doesn’t believe in third trimester abortions— unless the mother’s life is in danger. That’s a far cry from some of her colleagues who support abortion on demand through the third trimester.
You can see a synopsis of her policy positions on her campaign website here.
Take foreign policy and abortion, then put them together with Gabbard’s desire to end the failed War on Drugs, reform our criminal justice system, protect civil liberties, and there’s even a number of folks in libertarian circles who are enamored with her as a candidate.
But not even all of that is what makes Tulsi Gabbard unique. She’s also:
- The first Samoan-American member of Congress.
- The first practicing Hindu member of Congress.
- She’s the first female combat veteran to run for president. (She actually stepped down from the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2004 to serve in Iraq.)
Yet, even considering the differences, Gabbard is unquestionably a Democrat. Whether it’s healthcare for all, climate change, banning offshore drilling and fracking, entitlements, college for all, or violating the Second Amendment in the name of “safety”; her support for these policies align with her party. And let’s not forget that she stepped down as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2016, endorsed Bernie Sanders for president, and then gave a nominating speech for him at their convention.
Whether it’s her speech at the 2016 convention or her interviews with Rubin and Carlson, you’ll quickly observe that Gabbard is attractive, polished, and well-spoken. She also comes across as unafraid, unapologetic, and actually quite likable. Put this together with her ability to reach voters that her 2020 Democratic opponents likely can’t, and I believe she just might be the most likely candidate in the field to beat Trump in a general election.
Gabbard’s likability alone would give Trump a headache. How could he make the personal attacks he’s used to making without coming across as a bully or buffoon to those who normally aren’t bothered by such things? Like it or not, when it comes to comments about “creepy” Joe Biden or “crooked” Hillary, many people are willing to give him a pass. However, such monikers might not go over so well if directed at a candidate as likable as Gabbard.
In a very real way, Tulsi Gabbard is everything that her 2020 Democratic opponents aren’t— a reality that might just bode well in the much needed Rust Belt states. If the Democrats had any sense — if they were more interested in winning than anything else — they would support her for president of the United States.
Fortunately, for Republicans, these are Democrats we’re talking about. So, Republicans probably don’t need to worry about Tulsi in November of 2020.
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Note: If you’re interested in some theories on why Hillary Clinton said what she did about Tulsi Gabbard, Forbes just published an article suggesting some. They range from pumping up book sales for her new book to wanting an open convention. Take them for what they’re worth, which admittedly might not be much.
Gabbard’s interview with Tucker Carlson is below.