2016 was a wild election to say the least, and I’m not just referencing the general election. Both primaries were odd in their own respective ways. On the Democratic side the two front-runners were Bernie Sanders and Hillary Clinton. Clinton was by far the expected winner of the nomination in 2016 but things got a little shaken up when Bernie made a push and tightened the race. The DNC had a clear favorite in the establishment candidate, Hillary Clinton, but few knew what was going on until after the election. Following her defeat it was released that Clinton was not only given the debate questions a few times, but she was also handed over some operational control by the DNC that was unethical. Ah yes, and how could we forget the lovely superdelegates. A group of Democratic elites who used to have a portion of the say in primaries up until after the last presidential election. Believe it or not this did cost Sanders some states, not to say he would have won the primary but worth concern. Without getting in to the past too much, we turn to this next presidential election.
Tulsi Gabbard is one of the Democratic candidates running for President of the United States. She is a Congresswoman from the great state of Hawaii. Gabbard endorsed Sanders in 2016 and is known to have very liberal policies. However, Gabbard’s experience spans past the floor of Congress. Gabbard has previously served and is still an active member of the Hawaii Army National Guard. She has served tours in the middle east and uses this as insight for her foreign policy. Unlike Sanders, Gabbard is clearly more focused on issues over seas and uses her stance to support many domestic policies as well. She is very anti-interventionist, and has been an outspoken critic of the many regime-change efforts by the United States. She has served on many different foreign affairs committees and emphasizes the amount of money and resources wasted in pointless wars.
Gabbard has absolutely shined in the first two democratic debates. Following both debates she was the most searched candidate on Google displaying sparked interest by the audience. Both times she debated, she had arguably the most stand-out moments in each debate. In the first debate she caught Tim Ryan slipping up on who we went to war with, and she capitalized big time. She corrected him and immediately used it to segway into her knowledge of foreign policies and the wasteful war. This moment was a hit in the debate and is likely the reason she had people interested. While this was a big win for her, it was expected that if a candidate was going to slip up on foreign policy Gabbard would be the one to pounce. The more surprising moment came in the second debate against Kamala Harris. Gabbard went after Harris due to her record as a prosecutor. She pointed out the continuation of mass incarceration by Harris, mentioned her laughing about smoking marijuana though she locked many people up for the same thing, and basically called her a hypocrite for supposedly supporting colored Americans when statistics show she was not generous with them in her home state. Many candidates like to talk about what they have done in their current position and how they can apply it to bettering America; Tulsi, on the other hand, used this against Kamala stating that she used a position of power in a corrupt way that goes against her supposed values. This exchange was undoubtedly the zinger of the night and won Gabbard the second debate. She was the most searched candidate and appeared on numerous media outlets following the debate to discuss the exchange. So with two of the most defining moments of the first two debates what can we expect from Tulsi in the third debate?… Nothing, she will be watching them from the sidelines.
The rules to qualify for the next debate are a threshold of 130,000 individual donors and at least 2% polling in 4 “recognized polls”. Gabbard smashed through the individual donors long ago, but there was some troubles with the polling. Gabbard exceeded 2% in many national and early state polls, but the DNC claims many of these polls are not “recognized”. This despite some of the polls coming from very significant data including the economist poll and an early Iowa poll. This raising a huge concern about the transparency of the DNC and how they made the decisions on what polls are recognizable. RealClearPolitics does an average of the polling data collected to date and in those averages Gabbard ranks 9th among candidates. (RealClearPolitics, https://www.realclearpolitics.com/epolls/2020/president/us/2020_democratic_presidential_nomination-6730.html) As you may know, 10 candidates made the upcoming debate, meaning there is something off with the data gathering. Gabbard has explained her frustrations with this process and I don’t blame her. As a candidate who reached the individual donor amount long ago, is clearly a top ten candidate, and has done extremely well in the debates- she got hosed.
DNC, Your Move
The DNC has shown clear bias towards establishment candidates the last two elections and frankly, it’s getting annoying. While this time around it is hard to shun the popularity of a Bernie Sanders, the DNC is showing no love to candidates such as Gabbard or Andrew Yang who are both valid candidates. There is no need to show bias and it actually hurts the process because it gives a bad look to the DNC and party in general. You cannot claim to be the party of the people and so clearly try to let the elites of your party have so much influence on who gets in to office. Silencing the opinions of so many people will only push them away from the party and in search of a new answer. With changing demographics the future looks bright for the democratic party, but if they choose to lead this path it could end up coming back to bite them. After facing some backlash both elections it will be interesting to see how the act moving forward.