If Anyone in the Primary Race Deserves More Consideration, it’s Tulsi Gabbard.
In the crowded field of hopefuls for the democratic party’s presidential nomination, we are fortunate enough to have some authentic leftists in the race. Of course Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren are two of the most well known, and are considered top potential contenders thanks in large part to their grassroots base of young voters. Unfortunately however, a fellow progressive with a lot to offer has gotten lost in the shuffle.
Hawaiian congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard first gained some name recognition on the national stage when she left her position as cochair of the DNC in order to back the campaign of Bernie Sanders during the 2015–2016 election season. Not only was this move telling in regards to where Gabbard stands ideologically, it showed an incredible amount of integrity. She was willing to sacrifice her position of power within the party in order to stand behind the candidate she felt had our best interest at heart, and I can’t help but respect her for that alone.
Of course, her integrity does not just apply to her positions within the Democratic Party. Tulsi has positioned herself as one of the most anti-war candidates in the entire race, basing her campaign around this stance. Considering where the current administration is heading in regards to Iran and Venezuela, I hope that her strong position in this area will allow her to pull in more support once she hits the debate stage.
Tulsi’s anti-war stance stems from her combat experience, and everything that she saw as a medic during the Iraq War. Her House of Representatives webpage states that:
“In 2004, Tulsi volunteered to deploy with her fellow soldiers, becoming the first state official to voluntarily step down from public office to serve in a war zone. Tulsi served two tours of duty in the Middle East, and she continues her service as a Major in the Army National Guard. Tulsi’s 2005 deployment was a 12-month tour at Logistical Support Area Anaconda in Iraq, where she served in a field medical unit as a specialist with a 29th Support Battalion medical company. She was awarded the Meritorious Service Medal at the end of this tour.”
Tulsi has also been one of the only candidates to come out swinging against the arrest of Julian Assange and essentially the exile of Edward Snowden, saying she would drop charges against Snowden and pardon Assange. She also spoke out in defense of Chelsea Manning as well. When asked by Joe Rogan about these issues on his podcast, Gabbard said:
“We have got to address why Snowden did things the way that he did them. You hear the same thing from Chelsea Manning, how there is not an actual channel for whistleblowers like them to bring forward information that exposes egregious abuses of our constitutional rights and liberties, period. There was not a channel for that to happen in a real way, and that’s why they ended up taking the path that they did, and suffering the consequences…What happened with his [Julian Assange’s] arrest and all this stuff that just went down I think poses a great threat to our freedom of the press and to our freedom of speech.”
Tulsi Gabbard has proven herself to be deeply principled, and has key attributes that could position herself well among young voters. She supports a Medicare for All approach to healthcare, endorsed Bernie Sanders’ College for All act in 2017, and is for breaking up big banks and re-instating Glass-Steagall, which prevented consumer and investment banks from merging together.
Of course, like every other candidate, Tulsi is not perfect. For one thing, I feel her approach to Islamic extremism and terror might be a little too hawkish, and she was incredibly slow to come around on marriage equality. Of course, that is not something that we should allow to be brushed to the side, and she should be questioned about it regularly to ensure we get a clear picture of where she is today. That being said, Tulsi is a candidate with absolute, undeniable strengths in this race. While it may be difficult to envision a 2020 race with Tulsi pulling ahead and winning the nomination, with the help of progressive base she could at least be carried to a point where she could have a useful position in someone’s administration.
If anyone deserves to be on the national stage, it is Tulsi Gabbard.