She was a thorn in the side of her party, an inconvenient candidate who checked the identity politics boxes but was, nevertheless, shunned by the Democratic establishment. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI), the military veteran, and a smart female who, unlike Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), could honestly claim minority status, announced the end of her primary campaign in a video posted March 19 to Twitter.
Gabbard did not enjoy widespread name recognition, and competing with Sens. Warren, Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kamala Harris (D-CA) was never going to be easy. Harris and Warren, in particular, were closer to their party’s progressive wing while Gabbard herself ran primarily on a platform of disengaging from foreign military entanglements. She did not play the sexism card, nor did she aggressively promote a radical domestic agenda. Refusal to do either likely cost her a great deal of media attention and primary votes.
Still, it is odd that her party rejected her almost from day one of the primary contest. In 2016, the Hawaii congresswoman endorsed Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), and a feud between her and failed presidential candidate Hillary Clinton has smoldered ever since.
Clinton and Gabbard: Not BFFs
Gabbard sued Clinton for defamation after she was accused by the former first lady of being a “Russian asset.” The representative also sued Google after the company temporarily suspended her advertising account. In early March, a judge threw out the suit on the grounds that Google, as a private company, could not be accused of violating the candidate’s First Amendment rights.
As the primary contest unfolded, Gabbard also feuded with the Democratic National Committee over qualifying criteria for the debates. As Liberty Nation National Columnist Sarah Cowgill wrote: “Tulsi has been tilting at the DNC and its primary prerequisites since the get-go, claiming the surveyors they used weren’t ‘accurate’ enough, or that the venues were biased.”
With Joe Biden now commanding a significant lead in the Democratic Party delegate count, Gabbard – with just one delegate – had no possible path to the 1,991 needed to secure the presidential nomination. Announcing her decision to withdraw from the race, Gabbard threw her support behind Biden. “After Tuesday’s election,” she said, “it is clear that Democratic Primary voters have chosen Vice President Joe Biden to be the person who will take on President Trump in the general election.”
Read more from Graham J. Noble.