In case you weren’t aware, U.S. Rep Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii was, until Thursday morning, still in the running to be the Democratic nominee. Gabbard’s run has been marked by its fair share of drama, despite never really picking up any sort of momentum—back in October, Hillary Clinton implied that Gabbard was a “favorite of the Russians,” to which Gabbard responded by suing Clinton for $50 million. Back during the House’s impeachment trial of Donald Trump, Gabbard took heat for being the only representative to vote “present” (essentially a non-vote), refusing to pick a side. She flimsily defended herself by saying in a press conference “that the process was flawed. The entire process was flawed. Which is why I could not, in good conscience, vote either yes or no.” The reporter, hilariously, referred to her choice as a “unique vote.”
All in all, Gabbard is an oddball. She may be allegedly anti-war, despite being the first female combat veteran to get as far as she did in the presidential race, but she has a sordid history of Islamophobia and homophobia, having opposed same-sex marriage and lobbied against it in Hawaii as late as 2004, something she profusely has apologized for upon her run.
Yes, she supported her own form of Medicare-for-All and yes, she wanted to incorporate abortion rights into federal law, but Gabbard has constantly made herself a target of both the left and the right in bizarre ways, far more odd than Pete Buttigieg’s centrist, meaningless platitudes and Amy Klobuchar’s nervous pleas to not listen to irrational leftist thought. By the end of Gabbard’s run, we’re left wondering what she really had to offer to anyone. In trying to be the president for everyone, she wound up being the president—and perhaps representative—for no one.
“I’m for the people, man,” she told John Stossel, on her near-single-handed defeat of Kamala Harris. “I was speaking the truth and speaking for a lot of people.” Gabbard represents what seems to be the common theme of this election: the appropriation of the ideas of population to prop up her campaign. She supported the legalization of marijuana, and, potentially, harder drugs while still criminalizing the act of drug trafficking, despite claiming she’d never smoked or drank in her life.
“There’s a difference here where you have those who are profiting off of selling substances that are harmful to others as opposed to those who are making those choices on their own of what to do with their bodies,” Gabbard also told Stossel. To the untrained ear, it might sound like she is opposed to capitalism, or even represents some ideals that would appeal to libertarians. Meanwhile, her support of Medicare-for-All and much cheaper college seems to posit her as in favor of stronger government and socialist programs. It’s always been hard to pinpoint exactly where Gabbard stands.
This all culminates with her dropout Thursday, followed shortly by an endorsement of Joe Biden.
Essentially soiling any possible claims to progressivism, Gabbard has followed Andrew Yang, Buttigieg, Harris and Beto O’Rourke as former candidates sacrificing their own values and submitting to the political machine, seemingly for their own gain. O’Rourke was promised a spot in Biden’s cabinet as head of gun control, and there’s buzz of Harris hopping on Biden’s ticket after his claim of wanting a female VP.
Maybe no one stands for anything and we have to learn to accept that.