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Tulsi Gabbard: The Democrats Worst Nightmare?

Tulsi Gabbard
Tulsi Gabbard

Anti-interventionist. Anti-woke. Populist. Tulsi Gabbard, no longer a member of the Democratic Party, has been refreshing.

Unlike so many of Gabbard’s contemporaries, who walk strictly partisan paths, and regurgitate the same refined, shallow talking points, Gabbard seems capable of independent thought and action.

While she ran a smart campaign, Gabbard was not a viable presidential candidate when she ran for the DNC ticket in 2020. She was a member of the House, first of all – and only Gerald Ford has ever jumped directly from the House to the White House (although he was not elected to do so).

Gabbard also lacked experience; she had served less than a decade in the House (plus a three-year stint as Vice Chair of the DNC). Yet Gabbard had a much deeper influence on the 2020 election – and the corresponding debates – than her low polling numbers suggest.

After the first and second presidential debates of the 2020 DNC primaries, Tulsi Gabbard was the most googled candidate in the field.

Understandably: she spoke with conviction – and with a speck of originality that most candidates seemed to last. Most notable about Gabbard’s platform were her anti-interventionist foreign policy views and her populist economic views.

With respect to foreign policy, the arena where Gabbard has most made her name, Gabbard supports vigorous anti-terrorism yet harshly criticizes US hyper-intervention abroad. “When it comes to the war against terrorists, I’m a hawk,” Gabbard said, but “when it comes to counterproductive wars of regime change, I’m a dove.” Gabbard argues that US interventions “undermine our national security and…actually increase the suffering of people in the countries where we wage them.” Once, when asked whether any US wars had been justified, Gabbard responded that there are very few examples, maybe World War II.

In Washington, where both parties ritually support perpetual US troop deployment, Gabbard is one of the very few people critical of US foreign policy. Naturally, Gabbard’s criticisms have made her a target; her critics –and indeed the mainstream media – smear her as a “Russian asset,” for example. While Gabbard is not in fact a Russian asset, she certainly deviates from the US consensus.

Watching the establishment pivot against Gabbard and watching outlets like NPR smear her as an “isolationist” is frustrating. Although, it makes sense. “We have seen for a long time how the mainstream media has been complicit in further pushing and pursuing the foreign policy establishment narrative,” Gabbard said. Still, you’d think the Harvard-Yale punditry would have more respect for Gabbard’s viewpoints: She is a combat veteran after all – the first female combat vet ever to run for office.

Gabbard has been a member of the US Army since 2003. She participated in the Iraq War. She credits the stresses of war for the reason her first marriage failed. Yet, the establishment dismisses Gabbard’s views on US warmaking; in the foreign policy establishment’s view, Gabbard is a gadfly. The establishment seems happy to assign credibility to civilian lawyers (Obama, the Clintons) as long as they say the right thing (invade Iraq, bomb Libya).

While foreign policy is the crux of Gabbard’s political identity, much of her domestic policy is also agreeable in my view. Gabbard has been highly critical of the US’s “broken criminal justice system,” saying that we put “people in prison for smoking marijuana while allowing corporations who are responsible for the opioid-related deaths of thousands…to walk away scot-free with their coffers full.” Amen.

Gabbard has also advocated for financial reforms, including monopoly-busting, protecting against predatory lending, and banning naked credit default swaps; she wants to reinstate the Glass-Steagall Act, which separates investment banking from commercial banking; and she has been critical of Wall Street.

Since Gabbard’s presidential run in 2020, she has taken a lot of heat from Democrats for displaying a relative openness toward “conservative” viewpoints. Gabbard has appeared numerous times on Fox News, including Tucker Carlson Tonight and The Ingraham Angle, where instead of serving as the DNC’s defender, she criticized House Speaker Nancy Pelosi and Representative Adam Schiff. She eventially joined Fox News as as contributor. 

Gabbard raised eyebrows when she celebrated Republican Glenn Youngkin’s victory over Democrat Terry McAuliffe in the Virginia gubernatorial election. She also supported Florida’s Parental Rights Bill, or “Don’t Say Gay” Bill. And generally, Gabbard is critical of identity politics, or “woke” culture, which of course drives Democrats into a tizzy. Well, roughly everything Gabbard does – anti-interventionist foreign policy paired with populist economic reform – drives Democrats into a tizzy.

In effect, Tulsi Gabbard has been quite helpful in exposing the Democrats for their true values. No wonder she left the Democratic Party last year. 

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. He lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken. Follow him on Twitter @harrison_kass.

Written By

Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.



  1. Matthew Snow

    January 8, 2023 at 11:09 am

    It’s gaslighting to compare the pre 2021 version of Gabbard to the current one. She lacks convictions, and realized she could make money and get press by becoming right wing. This article proves she was right. It’s not naive of the author, it’s cynical not to admit that.

  2. Lee Thompson

    January 8, 2023 at 1:19 pm

    I like Tulsi. I’d like to see her on the ticket for the Republican party in 2024. Let’s face it; it would be in the role of VP at this point. If she would run, and I could give one piece of advice, even though I voted for Trump twice, it would be to stay away from running with him.

  3. Sean Thomas

    January 8, 2023 at 7:35 pm

    Vlad’s favorite “dem” is basically another Sinema. Just a craven opportunist. Not to be taken seriously.

  4. Jack Slade

    January 8, 2023 at 7:50 pm

    she’s nothing.


    January 9, 2023 at 8:01 pm

    The is the most…this is just wow.

    Tulsi Gabbard the Putin/Bashar Al Asaad lady is threat to democrats? You do realize there are Republicans who detest her for exactly this reason.

    This is exactly what’s wrong with so many opinion hot takes, hype up the character traits you love and completely ignore all the crazy stuff.

  6. Conan776

    April 28, 2023 at 4:22 pm

    James Garfield went straight from the House to the White House.

  7. Frank Knight

    April 28, 2023 at 5:16 pm

    Vlad’s favorite dem is what now?


    no. not even a little bit.

  8. George Strait

    May 1, 2023 at 11:13 am

    Is this a joke? Tulsi gabbard has proven she will say anything that gets her coverage, clicks, and dollars. She no longer mentions any of the things she touted as her priorities, like universal healthcare and many other left policies, except for things like “woke” that riles up the red meat magas.

    She is a new class of politician, the pure grifter who campaigns on any policy that will get her the most attention and money. She’s in it for the dollars baby.

    Doubt me? It’s simple just watch any AD or speech from her presidential campaign and then at anything she says or posts today. There is a massive shift in her rhetoric and political priorities. When’s the last time Gabbard talked about healthcare, economic mobility, etc? All gone to please the new targets of opportunity. MAGAs are much easier prey for her just yell about who you hate or who’s to blame. The critical issues she used to rail against when talking to supporters have been replaced by transgender nonsense and anti-woke idiocy. She’s responding to an RNC and media creation not the needs wants and interests of the people she claims she wants to represent.

    She has no moral compass that I can identify other than what brings her support and dollars. And, probably the worst part, she learned it all and is probably doing everything at the behest of her cult master in Hawaii, you might want to read about that little bit. They are quite insane and still active.

  9. Frederick Douglass

    May 1, 2023 at 12:54 pm

    You realize she was polling at 1% for the entirety of the primary season right? And, despite every Republicans’ claims to the contrary who promote her, she’d do even worse as a Republican. Everyone loves talking about her but NO ONE votes for her.

    She would be dead in the water on day one once Fox started attacking her ‘Old” positions (which should be read as 1 yr ago when whatever minimal support she had collapsed) about minimum wage, universal healthcare, ABORTION, cutting the military budget, etc. “That’s what gross, diseased lefties want ’cause it’s socianalisms!!!” She doesn’t talk about any of these things anymore, just Trans rights and “woke” to get the MAGAts in to their usual spitting rage about shit that effects them in zero ways.

    But sure, just keep telling yourself she’s a real threat.

  10. Tom

    May 1, 2023 at 1:04 pm

    Gabbard doesn’t drive Democrats in to a tizzy, no one gives a damn about her anymore, if they even ever knew who she was. No, Right-wing media lying about Gabbard and giving her far greater prominence then she’s earned or deserves drives people in to a tizzy.

    You are just blatantly driving a false narrative because it suits you.

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