With Senator Elizabeth Warren’s departure from the presidential race last Thursday, Tulsi Gabbard is officially the last woman standing in the Democratic primary.
Small consolation as she clings to hope with only two delegates.
Gabbard is the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress, but she nonetheless finished second in American Samoa’s Democratic primary, losing out to spendthrift billionaire Michael Bloomberg.
RealClearPolitics’ collection of polling data shows that Gabbard has never exceeded four percent in any one poll, and her average is far more often under two percent than it is above it.
It’s gotten so bad that the women who have dropped out of the race have forgotten that Gabbard is still running. Senator Kamala Harris, who left the race more than three months ago, flat out said, “There are no women currently in this race,” while Warren bemoaned the fact that little girls will have to wait four more years to see women run for president again.
Nevertheless, Gabbard persisted.
Why is it that Democrats dislike Gabbard so much that they pretend she doesn’t even exist? She’s a veteran, a woman of color, and practices a minority religion to boot. She should be a darling of those with identarian politics, especially in a race that has otherwise narrowed itself down to two old white men. Her strong non-interventionist stance should appeal to many anti-war Democrats, while her call to legalize all drugs should appeal to those who value criminal justice reform and increased libertinism in America. She’s hitting a lot of liberal talking points.
The thing that sets Gabbard apart from the crowd, however, is her unwillingness to toe the line on liberal attitudes and practices. Consider the following actions:
Gabbard has feuded with Hillary Clinton, including a lawsuit against Clinton for accusing her of being a Russian asset. Could that attack against the favored 2016 Democrat candidate been a bridge too far? Or perhaps Gabbard’s suit against the liberal-friendly tech-giant Google – for suppressing her campaign information – didn’t sit well with Democrat orthodoxy?
Perhaps her status as a frequent guest on Fox News draws the ire of Democratic voters? Or maybe her vote of “present” during Trump’s impeachment proceedings was the misstep that torpedoed her campaign?
Finally, her friendly visit with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and refusal to call him a war criminal earned her accusations of being an “Assad apologist.” Do Democrats give heartfelt voice to this objection, or is it just a nice excuse to shelve Gabbard as an also-ran?
Having called on DNC Chair Tom Perez to resign in the wake of this year’s Iowa caucus mess, Gabbard looks to once again be frozen out, as a new rule change from the Democratic National Committee (DNC) makes it mathematically impossible for her to qualify for the next debate, despite being one of only three active candidates. She’s now calling for Biden and Sanders to pressure the DNC to let her debate.
It is regrettable that the Democratic establishment is working so hard to shutter the free-thinking Gabbard. There isn’t a lot of room for contrarians within politics, and Sanders’ socialism may have already been too big of a pill for the DNC to swallow in 2020. Still, isn’t it disheartening that so few politicians are willing to fight on and say what they really think and believe, rather than kowtowing to the powers that be in their parties’ leadership?
“Nevertheless, she persisted” may have started as a Mitch McConnell criticism of Elizabeth Warren, proudly worn by that former presidential candidate, but that banner now belongs to Tulsi Gabbard. She’s not afraid of stepping on her own party’s toes, nor will she be silenced without a fight.
Unfortunately for Gabbard, her futile march is just another demonstration that persistence doesn’t guarantee that one will ever actually get anything done.
[Image Credit: Flickr-Gage Skidmore, CC BY-SA 2.0]