Tulsi Gabbard is one of the most fascinating Democrats in the presidential race. The US Representative from Hawaii doesn’t walk in lockstep with the rest of the candidates on a whole host of issues, which is why she’s caught the eye of many of my libertarian friends. I definitely appreciate her honesty and her willing to break the Democratic mold on so many issues, even when I don’t agree with her.
Gabbard has gained a reputation for another interesting feature of her campaign: her willingness to criticize other candidates in public. Here are a couple of examples.
In the first debate in Miami back in June, Gabbard took on Rep. Tim Ryan of Ohio over engagement in Afghanistan:
In the July debates in Detroit, Gabbard called out California Senator Kamala Harris over her record as a prosecutor and as Attorney General:
She didn’t make the September debates, but that hasn’t stopped her from holding forth about her fellow candidates and sharing her thoughts about impeachment on talk shows.
But the good news for Gabbard may be bad news for the rest of the field: she has made the October debate stage, although she’ll be further to the side as a candidate with lower poll numbers. Can we expect fireworks from Gabbard? Will she make other candidates squirm as she has done in the past?
“As she proved with Kamala, she’s more than willing to say the thing other people are definitely not willing to say,” said Democratic strategist Julia Barnes, the national field director for Sanders’ 2016 campaign.
“You just have to balance that with the fact that the other half of the sh– she says is so completely off message for the party and the values that she espouses to represent,” Barnes continued, noting that Gabbard was one of the last House Democrats to support an impeachment inquiry against Trump.
Others suggest that Gabbard could make things uncomfortable for some of the frontrunners in the next debate:
“I would watch for Tulsi to be one of the wild cards that blows up the debate,” a veteran Democratic presidential campaign strategist said. “If I were preparing for this debate with one of the other candidates, especially if I was Elizabeth Warren, I would be very wary of Tulsi Gabbard now being back on the stage.”
No matter what happens, you can count on Gabbard to be candid and pull no punches. Since she’s back, grab your popcorn, because the next debate could get way more interesting.