Why Is Tulsi Gabbard Still in the Race?

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)

Everyone is correctly pointing to the fact that the race among the Democrats has come down to two people: Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden.  All the other big names like O’Rourke, Buttigieg, Warren, Bloomberg and even Tom Steyer and his billions have now departed the stage. With the DNC and the media hyping Biden and the grassroots, rabid socialist Bernie Bros propping up Sanders, one wonders whether the Warren supporters will choose ideology and drift to Sanders, or will they hold a grudge against Sanders and drift to Biden.  Left besides the two obvious front runners is Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.

But enough about the septuagenarians…on to Gabbard.  As several outlets have pointed out, she has spent a lot of time on Fox News rightfully criticizing the Democrat Party.  Why she opts for Fox News is obvious: no other media outlet would allow such criticism on their airwaves.  They are now all-in for Biden.

She is continually at the bottom of the polls and has, through DNC sleight of hand, failed to make the debate stage.  Gabbard is not an idiot.  She knows full well what she is up against.  It is not only Sanders and Biden, but the entire DNC infrastructure, and the media.  Considering the media does not consider her a legitimate threat (and she really isn’t), all their pondering why she has not dropped out is perplexing.  Who cares about a candidate with two delegates and polling in low single digits?  The reason is that her criticism of the process remains a thorn in the side of the media/DNC narrative about Joementum.  She is the proverbial gadfly in the Democrat ointment, albeit one seldom heard.

She has no path to the nomination.  Along the way, she has been highly critical of the process and is learning firsthand the obstacles Bernie Sanders discovered in 2016.  Those very obstacles are being brought to bear on him again, and on her.  It is up close and personal this time around and while she dropped out of a leadership role in the DNC in 2016 having been a Sanders supporter, this time she stays in the race for the same reasons: to expose the hypocrisy and favoritism of the DNC in the nomination process.

Because she has been so critical, Gabbard has nowhere to go.  She could drop out and lend her endorsement to Sanders, as she did in 2016, but it probably would not count for much.  She is a pariah in her own party.  She faced fierce criticism over her “Present” vote in the House regarding Trump’s impeachment.  She decried that farce, correctly, as “too political.”  She has decided not to run for reelection to Congress from Hawaii, so she cannot fall back on her day job.

Along the way, she has had an impact at certain points in the campaign.  Her attack on Kamala Harris’ record as California attorney general may have been a nail in the coffin of Harris’ campaign.  Remember that Harris was rising high until Gabbard attacked her on the debate stage.  She got into a well-publicized spat with Queen Hillary Clinton, again rightfully, calling Hillary the queen of Democrat sleaze.  Her foreign policy views align more with those of President Trump than they do with Biden.  Hence, hanging in the race to gain some leverage at the DNC convention in the area of foreign policy is highly unlikely.

Yet, despite her, at times, impact, she remains inconsequential on the campaign trail.  Eventually she will run out of money and donors and the now-small crowd sizes will diminish further the longer she remains in the race.  There has to be a point she exits the stage.  She could conceivably adopt the “If you don’t like socialism and you don’t like senility, vote for me” campaign slogan and hope for the best, but it is doubtful it would work at this stage in the game.

Instead, Gabbard has a few choices.  She can retire to beautiful Hawaii and surf the waves, or even re-enter Hawaii local politics.  Some have suggested that she is auditioning for a job on Fox News, and that is a possibility.  However, this writer thinks there is one job she is almost tailor-made for given her background and expertise in Congress.  In a second Trump administration, it might just be a interesting choice to appoint Tulsi Gabbard to head the Veterans Administration.  Trump is solidly behind military veterans, Gabbard is a military veteran, and nominating a nominal-in-name Democrat to the post could be portrayed as reaching across the aisle.  They could make for strange bedfellows weeding out corruption in the swamp.

It should be noted that among the 20+ knuckle-walkers running for the Democrat nomination, Gabbard was perhaps the least critical of Trump.  She broke ranks with the Resistance in 2016 and actually paid a visit to Trump Tower after Trump’s victory.  That did not go over well with Democrats, but it should count for something with Trump.  And just maybe, she can parlay that into 2024.