In 2019, former Rep. Tulsi Gabbard ran for the Democratic presidential nomination. She did well enough in the debates to expose Kamala Harris as an intellectual lightweight, although didn’t gain much traction otherwise.
Now just three years later, Gabbard says she’s done with the Democrat Party entirely. In a Twitter thread, and also on her new podcast, Gabbard says she’s been disillusioned by Democratic promises of an “inclusive, big tent” political party. “I can no longer remain in the Democratic Party,” Gabbard announced. “It’s now under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers driven by cowardly wokeness.”
Don’t hold back — tell us how you really feel:
Well, it’s tough to argue with that list of particulars. We have argued most if not all of those same points. In her inaugural podcast episode, Gabbard goes on to explore each of these points in more detail. She goes after some other specific points, especially the weaponization of the Department of Justice against political dissenters, such as pro-life activists and parents opposed to extreme curricula of indoctrination in public schools. Gabbard contrasts that with the DoJ’s inaction against illegal protests outside the Supreme Court justices before and after the Dobbs decision.
Gabbard offers plenty more in the full episode, embedded below, but she had Newt Gingrich at hello:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich praised Tulsi for ditching the Democrats in a Tuesday statement on Fox News. He argued that she is one of many Americans who traditionally have voted blue but now find the Democrats unrecognizable.
“[Gabbard] has always been sort of an independent maverick,” Gingrich said. “And I think when she ran for president, she realized how really isolated she was from the great majority of the Democratic Party, which is now, frankly, a pretty weird party….I think you’re seeing this drift. And we’ve certainly seen among Latinos a huge drift towards the Republican Party as they’re driven away by the weirder policies of the Democratic Party.”
True, and I suspect that we will see this dynamic in serious measure in these midterms. That is the traditional role midterms have played — to check the excesses of the party in power, and there are surpassingly few reasons to think this cycle will be an exception. Gabbard may not lead an exodus out of the Democratic Party as much as she personifies a trend that had already begun over the last year of Joe Biden’s inept stewardship.
One point to note, though: while Gabbard announces her departure from the Democratic Party, it doesn’t appear that she’s becoming a Republican, at least not yet. That may also be true of a lot of voters this year who will give GOP candidates a chance but will force them to earn loyalty. Stay tuned — and if you want to take that literally, here’s the full episode from Gabbard.
Update: A fair point on perspective, as far as it goes:
Liz Cheney’s gripe with the GOP has to do with personality and taste more than policy and its implementation, however. Gabbard seems disillusioned on a far broader basis with her party than Cheney is with hers. Gabbard makes a far better argument for leaving because of that rather than working within the party to align it on perceived principles, although of course YMMV on that observation.