Democratic presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, answers questions during a presidential forum held by She The People on the Texas State University campus Wednesday, April 24, 2019, in Houston. (AP Photo/Michael Wyke)
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard hasn’t been near the top in terms of polling, but it hasn’t stopped her from being in countless headlines. Her part in taking down Kamala Harris and her talent at making Hillary Clinton angry enough to accuse her of being a Russian asset has made Gabbard something of a household name.
Despite this, Gabbard has usually gotten into the debates despite her low polling numbers and made a splash during the short time she’s allotted by moderators that have hitherto tried to make Gabbard look like a villain.
Now Gabbard says she has a bold new strategy for the next debates, Cotton.
She’s not even going to show up.
Tweeting out the announcement on Monday, Gabbard told the public that she decided not to attend the “debate” whether she qualifies or not, and will instead be dedicated time on the ground among the people.
“For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th “debate” — regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls. I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina,” tweeted Gabbard.
For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th "debate" — regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls. I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina.
— Tulsi Gabbard (@TulsiGabbard) December 10, 2019
Some may see this as a foolish move, but looking deeper reveals that Gabbard may be the only one paying attention to the vibe the country has going right now.
The last debate, which happened toward the end of November, was an absolute disaster in the ratings with only six million people tuning in to watch the Democrats argue over things few people are on board with.
Six million people may sound like a lot, but compared to the attendance of other debates, this is a horrific low. Not to mention the fact that the six million viewer count is 20 percent lower than the last debate.
While viewer loss is guaranteed to happen as debates continue to go on, the amount that Democrats have lost is striking. It signals that America doesn’t really care what they have to say anymore, and the interest in the issues they bring up aren’t exactly at the top of the American voter’s list of concerns. Judging by Trump’s approval numbers, some people may have already made up their minds as to who they’ll vote for.
Gabbard may be seeing this sinking ship and is looking to be the first to get off it. Not only is she thinking that time on the ground will be more productive than more time in front of a camera — where the media will do their best to ignore her anyway — she’s sticking with the vibe that has kept her afloat in the first place.
She’s distancing herself from the rest of the 2020 candidates. Gabbard doesn’t want to be lumped in with people who clearly aren’t resonating with the American people, and that in and of itself is a wise move.
While this definitely won’t give her the national presence via the television, Gabbard may find it more beneficial to create a social media campaign that will go viral. How this will work out remains to be seen, but this move puts all the power in Gabbard’s hands, not into the hands of moderators or the Democrat establishment.