Hillary Clinton speaks during the TIME 100 Summit, in New York, Tuesday, April 23, 2019. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
Hillary Clinton might have thought disparaging comments she made a few weeks ago on a podcast about Rep. Tulsi Gabbard allegedly being a “Russian asset” would have sunk the Hawaii congresswoman’s campaign for president, but several polls that have been released in the aftermath show that she only helped to strengthen it.
Polling analyst and election data guru Harry Enten explains:
Hawaii Rep.Tulsi Gabbard appeared poised to be one of the many forgotten 2020 Democratic presidential candidates. That was until former Secretary of State and 2016 Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton decided to call her out on David Plouffe’s podcast.
After Clinton’s attack on Gabbard — calling her “favorite of the Russians” — the Hawaii Democrat’s poll numbers rose, earning her a place on the November debate stage.
Before the Democratic debate on October 15, Gabbard looked like she was going to miss November’s debate. Candidates needed to hit at least 3% in four qualifying polls. Gabbard had never hit that 3% mark in any qualifying poll this entire year.
Then Clinton’s remarks came on October 17.
It is, of course, difficult to say with certainty that Clinton’s remarks caused Gabbard to rise, but it’s difficult to escape the likelihood given the polling data.
Enten posits that Clinton’s elevation of Gabbard’s profile motivated, at least in part, the anti-Clinton types within the Democratic party to stand with Gabbard over Clinton.
Gabbard responded back forcefully to Clinton’s attack at the time, calling her a “warmonger” and the “embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.” Gabbard has also repeatedly denied suggestions from Clinton and others that she plans on launching a spoiler third-party candidacy that party insiders believe would hurt the chances of the eventual Democratic presidential nominee.
In addition to finding out on Thursday that she qualified for the November debate, Gabbard stands a good chance of making the December debate, too, according to Enten.
In spite of her issues with the DNC, it’s entirely possible that Gabbard’s inability to rise out of the polling basement would have led her to pull a Beto and drop out of the race after the 4th Democratic debate last month. Maybe she would have even announced an endorsement. But Hillary’s attack on her not only motivated Gabbard’s base and anti-Clinton types to support her, but they also lit a fire under Gabbard that to date no one has been able to extinguish.
In other words, Clinton’s vicious attack on Tulsi Gabbard backfired – bigly.
As usual, Clinton’s bitterness over her 2016 loss to Trump trumped (no pun intended) all logic and reason, and caused her to openly allege conspiracy theories about other candidates that have no basis in fact. In turn, she’s made herself look like a fool. Unfortunately for her, not only is that not a good look, but it’s not a new look, either.
— Based in North Carolina, Sister Toldjah is a former liberal and a 16+ year veteran of blogging with an emphasis on media bias, social issues, and the culture wars. Read her Red State archives here. Connect with her on Twitter. –