With Bernie Sanders’ full throated endorsement of Hillary Clinton, many of his supporters find themselves in a tough position. They refuse to support Clinton, and with Bernie Sanders no longer leading the opposition, they feel as if nobody’s representing their point of view. Most prominent progressives within the Democratic Party have endorsed Hillary Clinton as well, including Oregon Senator Jeff Merkley and Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren. As the Democratic Convention this week preached unity, there was one speaker who was only there for Bernie and failed to endorse Clinton, Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.
Tulsi Gabbard attracted an enormous amount of attention when she left her position as Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee and endorsed Sanders. Gabbard explained that she was unwilling to remain impartial in the election. An Iraq war veteran, she argued Hillary Clinton’s support of interventionism and regime change was far too dangerous for her to stand by and tacitly support.
Gabbard would be in a much better position to win than Bernie was
Gabbard’s list of accomplishments, all coming from within the Democratic Party, are extremely impressive. She’s the first Hindu and the first American Samoan to be elected to Congress. At the age of 21, she was elected to the Hawaii State Legislature, and has been climbing the ranks ever since. She’s a member of three of the most important committees in Congress – Armed services, Homeland Security, and Foreign Affairs.
In 2004, Gabbard joined the armed forces and did a tour in Iraq. Her military service has garnered her an enormous amount of respect on Congress from her colleagues on both sides of the aisle. That military experience gives her a unique qualification, and one that is becoming less and less common in politics today.
She’s still very young, but so was Obama
Gabbard is only 35 years old, but her star continues to rise. Many expect her to leave the House and run for the Senate in the coming years, where she would likely be the heavy favorite because of the celebrity she’s gained in recent months combined with Hawaii’s progressive politics.
If Gabbard were to run for President in 8 years she would be 43, only four years younger than Obama was when he entered the Oval Office. She would be the third youngest President in history behind Theodore Roosevelt and John F. Kennedy. That being said, Gabbard would enter the race with more than 20 years of experience both in public office and military service, making her more than qualified.
Gabbard is a progressive with all the right attributes to succeed in the Democratic Party
Bernie Sanders faced a number of restraints that potentially limited him from gaining enough support to defeat Hillary Clinton. He’s 74 years old, he’s a self described Democratic Socialist, and he’s been an Independent in the Senate rather than a Democrat for his entire career. All these issues were used as talking points against him, and it seemed to work effectively with voters in certain areas. For example, there was a lot of speculation that Sanders lost Florida by such a large margin because a large portion of South Florida’s Cuban population are afraid of the word Socialist in relation to the Castro regime.
Gabbard doesn’t have these limitations. She’s young and she’s always worked within the Democratic Party. Combine this with her military service and widespread bipartisan respect, and Gabbard could have a real shot to be the next progressive hero, potentially even having a real shot at the White House.