Tulsi Gabbard is finally dropping out of the race, and good riddance.
Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard’s longshot presidential bid is over.
Gabbard’s decision to drop out, announced March 19, was long in the works. She had consistently averaged around 1 to 2 percent in national polls and performed poorly in primaries; her candidacy largely served as a single-issue protest run against American military adventurism rather than a serious bid for the presidency. Her most notable moment, a devastating attack on California Sen. Kamala Harris’s record as a prosecutor in the CNN’s July debate, didn’t move the dial much in her favor. So on Thursday, she dropped out an endorsed Joe Biden for president.
The irony is that Gabbard could have been a real contender. She’s a strong communicator with an interesting biography, an Iraq war veteran and the first Hindu member of Congress. Yet thanks to a series of choices she had made since getting elected to Congress in 2012 — most notably an inexplicable trip to Syria to meet the country’s murderous leader Bashar al-Assad — she managed to alienate herself from Democratic Party’s leadership and base. Her continued ties to a strange religious group called “Science of Identity” didn’t help matters either, nor did frequent clashes with the party elite during the 2020 campaign (including filing a lawsuit against Hillary Clinton).
The result is that Gabbard’s campaign never had much of a chance: She was unable to play a significant role in the Democratic primary, even on her single issue of opposing wars of regime change, due to her past missteps. She stayed in the race for a long time, but accomplished very little.
Gabbard is giving up her Hawaii US House seat too, not that she would have survived a primary anyway, for precisely the reasons above. She's managed to alienate every key constituency in the Democratic party in record time and she has no future in it and knows it..and she endorsed Biden anyway. You know, before Liz Warren did.
Meanwhile, Bernie Sanders is supposedly "clear-eyed" about Joe Biden's presumptive nominee status and is concentrating on COVID-19 legislation along with Liz Warren.
Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign is signaling that he is clear-eyed about the road ahead, with his campaign manager saying he would use the lull in primary voting to have "conversations with supporters to assess his campaign."
But the statement goes on to say that Sanders will be focused on the national emergency around the novel coronavirus -- specifically "ensuring that we take care of working people and the most vulnerable."
It's largely an accident of the calendar that former Vice President Joe Biden is emerging as the all-but-certain Democratic nominee at the same time that American society has been upended.
That coincidence is a potential opportunity for the progressive moment, with once-in-a-lifetime-level federal responses being debated in Washington.
Sen. Elizabeth Warren -- still officially neutral in the presidential race -- has been taking a leadership role in crafting possible responses. She is proposing ideas like canceling student debt, boosting Social Security and forcing leadership changes at companies that accept bailout funds, as part of what she is calling "meaningful, grassroots relief directly to American families."
With the next giant bailout package being tailored largely by Senate Republicans, Sanders and Warren are likely to be go-to voices when Democrats have their say.
The Trump administration will need Democratic votes in the House as well as the Senate. Progressives could see disappointment turned into opportunity in the days ahead -- particularly if Sanders and Warren work together.
I still don't expect Sanders to suspend his campaign until the convention, and I still expect him to ruthlessly attack Joe Biden for another four months, because it's what he did to Hillary Clinton four years ago. What I expect in fact is for Sanders to work on COVID-19 legislation that's very progressive along with Warren, Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Amy Klobuchar, get it passed, and praise Donald Trump for signing it.
In fact, what I expect from Sanders is what he did four years ago: all but say that if he can't be the nominee, the best chance of getting individual policies of his platform enacted will be through Donald Trump, not Joe Biden, and that his voters should once again "vote their conscience" rather than endorse the Democratic nominee in the race, while pointing to a Trump-signed COVID-19 package as an argument.
I'm being cynical as hell. I have the right to be, frankly, after what happened in 2016.