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Tulsi Gabbard: Is She the Future of the Republican Party?

Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard

What is Tulsi Gabbard up to? The former Democratic Congresswoman, who ran for president in 2020, is writing a book about her decision to leave the party. Will she end up a key member of the Republican Party? 

Tulsi Gabbard: Who Is She? 

Former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, who has had one of the most unorthodox political careers in the country in the last few years, has been all over the news this month. 

Gabbard, a U.S. Army Reserve officer, was elected to Congress from Hawaii as a Democrat in 2012, becoming the first-ever Hindu member of Congress.

Not long after, she was elected a member of the Democratic National Committee, although, in 2016, she resigned from the DNC in order to endorse Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) for president, while arguing that the DNC was titled towards his opponent Hillary Clinton.

Clinton, for her part, implied that Gabbard was a “Russian asset,” leading to a defamation lawsuit

During her later time in Congress, Gabbard drew fire for meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in 2017, and then ran for president in the 2020 primaries, engaging in some memorable confrontations on the debate stage with then-candidate and now Vice President Kamala Harris.

Her presidential candidacy didn’t last long, and Gabbard did not run again for Congress in 2020. 

Gabbard Goes Right

After two years of hints that she was becoming more conservative, including some guest-hosting stints on Fox News, Gabbard announced in October of 2022 that she was leaving the Democratic Party and becoming an independent. 

“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic Party. It’s now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racializing every issue & stoking anti-white racism, who actively work to undermine our God-given freedoms enshrined in our Constitution,” Gabbard said at the time.

And while she did not announce that she was joining the Republican Party, she appeared with several GOP candidates in the 2022 cycle. 

Big News Coming? 

This brings us to this month.

First, Gabbard announced that she is writing a book for the conservative publisher Regnery about what she describes as the  “full story of her electrifying break” with the Democratic Party. The book will come out in October. 

“This book will share my experiences at the highest level of Democratic politics, and why I can no longer call myself a Democrat,” she said in a statement when the book project was announced. 

Then, earlier this week, Gabbard appeared as a speaker at a “March Against the War Machine” rally in Washington on Monday, which called for the U.S. to drop its support of Ukraine against Russia

“Two short years later, what I warned about then is now a reality. This proxy that we are fighting against Russia right now could turn at any moment into a direct conflict between the United States/NATO and Russia,” Gabbard said at the rally, where speakers called for everything from the dissolution of NATO to the slashing of the Pentagon budget. 

The rally featured a combination of speakers from the left, with the right, and many others, such as Gabbard, formerly associated with the left.

That forms a contrast with the protests 20 years ago against the war in Iraq, which were mostly associated with the political left. 

Also this week, Tulsi Gabbard visited the train derailment zone in Ohio. And the House committee looking into the “weaponization of the federal government” announced that Gabbard will testify. 

Appearing on Tucker Carlson’s Fox show this week, Gabbard ripped leaders of both parties, including President Biden and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), as “warmongers” for their support of the billions of dollars in weapons for Ukraine. 

“They are the ones who are undermining our democracy. They are the ones who are denying the American people our constitutional right to have a say whether or not we go to war. It is an affront to the Constitution and every single American,” Gabbard said of Biden and McConnell. 

Gabbard has not joined the Republican Party, nor has she announced any plans to run for office again.

But it’s clear she’s part of a growing ideological faction — post-left, anti-war — that will very much be heard from the 2024 race.

Maybe a clue: she is also now a formal Fox News contributor. Make of that what you will. 

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Expertise and Experience: Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.

Written By

Stephen Silver is a journalist, essayist, and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review, and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.