The Curious Case of Tulsi Gabbard

The Curious Case of Tulsi Gabbard

Thomas Farrell, Contributor

From day one, Tulsi Gabbard has had a hard job convincing people on why she should be president. However almost no one doubts that she is qualified – the first Samoan American and first Hindu elected to Congress, the youngest woman ever elected to a state legislature, a combat vet deployed to Iraq and Kuwait, and a former vice chair of the DNC. At 38 years old, Tulsi has already accomplished a lot and is one of the youngest candidates in the field. She brings youth and diversity to a field that Democrats would consider to be old, white, and patriarchal. Surely, Gabbard should be killing it in the polls and be seen as one of the strongest candidates in the field right now. Yet, Gabbard is doing anything but that.  According to “Real Clear Politics,” she rarely breaks 1% in general polls; and according to “,” she does just as poorly amongst college students.  So, what happened? Why is this promising young politician falling by the wayside when she should be dominating?

First off, Tulsi is too conservative for Democrats and too liberal for most Republicans. With primaries skewing to the extreme of the party, Tulsi fills a strange middle ground where Republicans love her but wouldn’t vote for her, and Democrats find any excuse not to vote for her. Following the July debate, Tulsi won first place in the Breitbart News and Drudge Report spot polls for her performance, but her Democratic poll numbers failed to increase to any competitive level. She undeniably had a strong performance during the debates, calling out Kamala Harris as being a hypocritical during her tenure as a prosecutor – soliciting loud shouts of agreement from the debate crowd and approval from Democrats. Despite this performance, she wallows at the bottom of the polls. Evidently, voters would rather support more progressive candidates like Warren and Sanders or more “electable” candidates like Biden.

While I have said Gabbard isn’t as progressive Democrats would like, that’s not entirely true. Her positions on issues like the LGBT community, health care, and the economy are largely similar to the rest of the field. However, her transition to progressive politics appears to be a recent phenomenon, as during her Congressional tenure she took an anti-gay position more akin to Republicans, calling the LGBT community

“homosexual extremists.”

— Tulsi Gabbard

Yet, even more disagreeable to mainstream Democrats is her alignment with Syria’s Bashar Al-Assad and India’s Modi. Despite many Democrats proclaiming to be anti-war and pacifists, when it comes to “foreign dictators” vilified by the media, they are prepared to support any means necessary to deal with them. Assad is one of those “foreign dictators” that Gabbard has publicly supported. At least that’s the impression you would have if you read mainstream news. In reality, she opposes what she calls the “illegal war to overthrow the Syrian government” and happened to meet with Assad in 2017 to discuss an end to the Syrian War. This opposition of American imperialism has led to Gabbard being termed a Russian stooge.

As we know from Trump, being Russia affiliated is just about the worst thing you can be to the currently Russo-phobic Democratic party. A cursory search for “Gabbard Russia” on Twitter reveals thousands of tweets denouncing her as a puppet of Putin. There are even accusations of Russian meddling in the primaries, with an NBC article proclaiming that “experts” believe that the Kremlin is planning a campaign to support Gabbard. For a country that was allegedly incredibly destructive in the 2016 election, you think their alleged support would’ve resulted in Gabbard polling better. With these attacks leveled at her, it’s clear the establishment does not want her to be victorious which has translated into rock-bottom polling numbers.

Gabbard’s campaign is presently in shambles. At the time of publishing, she has yet to drop out despite not qualifying for the last debate. She has lots of support from independents, if social media is anything to go by, but it has not translated into superior performance with either college students or the public at large. Gabbard has been left in the dust by the more progressive wing of the Democratic party meaning that the time for candidates like her attaining success is over.