Analysis: Tulsi Gabbard Appears Ready To Play Spoiler In 2020 Election
An op-ed Democratic presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard wrote for The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday hinted that the Hawaii congresswoman might intend to run a spoiler campaign in the 2020 general election, if she fails to nab the Democratic nomination.
Gabbard’s piece was in response to Hillary Clinton’s accusation that the candidate is being groomed by Republicans — which Gabbard conveniently conflated with other criticisms that she is a Russian asset.
“Hillary Clinton emerged recently to claim, with no basis in fact, that I am being ‘groomed’ by the Russian government to undermine America,” she wrote.
Noting that Clinton said it was the GOP grooming Gabbard, New York Magazine’s Jonathan Chait observed that the candidate’s op-ed was near-proof that the former secretary of state was correct in her assessment.
“What is very clear,” Chait wrote, “is that Gabbard is now working hand in hand with the Republican party.”
He pointed to her appearances on right-wing media, such as Hill TV and Sean Hannity’s show on Fox News. During those interviews, “Gabbard used both forums to promote Republican talking points discrediting the impeachment process.”
“Most people reading through that transcript are not going to find that extremely compelling cause to throw out a president that won an election in 2016,” she said, prior to reversing course.
But Chait’s primary concern is that Gabbard left wide open the possibility in her op-ed that she might run a third-party campaign: “There is no line in the piece committing Gabbard to running exclusively in the Democratic primary. It doesn’t even mention the primary. It has an ambiguous passage that merits close examination.”
Note the following passage:
This isn’t a petty “spat” between Mrs. Clinton and me. It’s a serious contrast in views about the choice voters face as they decide which Democratic candidate is best equipped to defeat President Trump. Mrs. Clinton already lost to Mr. Trump once. Why would Democrats think a Hillary 2.0 candidate would result in anything different?
In the next paragraph, Gabbard brings her point home: “Whether Mrs. Clinton’s name is on the ballot or not, her foreign policy will be, as many of the Democratic candidates adhere to her doctrine” of endless regime change, et cetera.
Any Democratic candidate might as well be Hillary Clinton, Gabbard argued, which Chait interpreted as her justification to run a Ralph Nader/Jill Stein-style campaign.
Chait also noted that The Journal’s editorial page is not typically “enthusiastic about running screeds denouncing the bloodstained neocon war machine” but is “happy to make an exception for somebody who’s in the electing-Republicans business.”