Meet the Candidates: Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI): Gabbard is the first American Samoan and person of Hindu faith elected to Congress. She was also one of the first two female combat veterans elected to Congress, with deployments in both Iraq and Kuwait in the 2000’s. Tulsi was team Bernie in 2016…but Steve Bannon was team Tulsi. She’s a controversial figure, to say the least, a seeming patchwork of alternating progressive and hawkish values. And, she was the last Democrat representing a Clinton-won district to announce support for impeachment.

End endless wars: Gabbard’s signature platform is anti-interventionism, and a desire to pull the United States out of ongoing military engagement and “regime change” wars. For example, she has been vocal in ending our contributions to Saudi Arabia’s warfare and genocide against Yemen. Her stated anti-war goals would put her solidly in the progressive camp…if it weren’t for two big catches.

First, Gabbard is a self-proclaimed hawk towards anyone she identifies as an “Islamic extremist,” which she has stated must require “all our energy and efforts” to defeat.

Second, this anti-interventionism has led her to support for and multiple meetings with some of the most brutal dictators of our time with the ostensible goal of battling terrorism. In 2015, she met with and praised Egypt’s President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi for his fight against extremism — the same man who conducted the worst mass killing of protestors in modern history, murdering Eqyptian 817 civilians. In 2017, she secretly met with Syrian dictator and war criminal Bashar al-Assad, stating it was out of “care” for the Syrian people… but then labeled all US-backed Syrian opposition as terrorists. This, after attempting to deny support to those same people so that the Syrian regime could better fight ISIS. In short, her desire to stay out of regime changes seems to translate to support for brutal tyrants.

Immigration: Gabbard recently appeared on Breitbart “news” and indicated she’s opposed to decriminalizing illegal border crossings in fear it would create open borders…and she’s open to extending the border wall if experts recommend it. She is, however, in favor of DACA, so that at least separates her from Trump.

Healthcare: Similar to Biden and Harris, she’s on board with Medicare For All as an option, coupled with private insurance policies remaining intact (though she’s unclear on whether this plan would cover undocumented immigrants).

Critics say… well, a lot. In addition to her contradictory foreign policy platform detailed above, she has also had to account for past vocal anti-LGBTQ views and efforts. She has since apologized and claims a change of heart, and her recent voting record shows complete alignment with pro-LGBTQ rights. Hillary Clinton recently made headlines for saying Gabbard is being groomed by Russians for a disruptive third-party run.

And finally: She made TMZ news for her surfing skills. So, it’s nice to know she can appreciate a blue wave.

For more information about Tulsi Gabbard, visit the policies page on her website.


Required Reading for the Resistance. Actions that make a difference.