Tulsi Gabbard

Picture of Tulsi Gabbard

By: T. Jeffersonian

What is She Doing Now

Tulsi Gabbard is an American politician and United States Army Reserve officer who served as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District from 2013 to 2021.  Prior to serving in the U.S. House of Representatives, Tulsi Gabbard was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives in 2002 at the age of 21.  Gabbard served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in Iraq from 2004 to 2005 and was deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009 as an Army Military Police platoon leader.  

Elected as the U.S. Representative in the House of Representatives in 2012, Tulsi Gabbard was the first Hindu member of Congress and also the first Samoan-American voting member of Congress.  From 2013-2016, she was a vice chair of the Democratic National Committee until she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. In early February 2019 she announced her own candidacy for the Democratic nomination in the 2020 United States Presidential Election.  On March 19, 2020, Gabbard dropped out of the 2020 presidential race and endorsed President Joe Biden.  When she withdrew from the Presidential campaign, she had already withdrawn from her U.S. House re-election race.  She was succeeded as the U.S. Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District by Kai Kahele on January 3, 2021. 

Gabbard was the first female combat veteran to run for president. CNN described her foreign policy platform as anti-interventionist and her economic platform as populist. Gabbard was the most frequently Googled candidate after the first, second, and fourth 2020 Democratic debates.  Her un-favorability rating however increased to 30 percent immediately after she voted present on the first articles of impeachment against President Donald Trump.  She was further attacked by former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton whom inferred that the Russians were growing a female Democratic candidate to run as a third-party Presidential candidate.  Gabbard sued Clinton over this accusation but dropped the law suit five months after filing. 

 Gabbard supports a two-tier universal health care plan that she calls Single Payer Plus.  She supports strengthening Roe v. Wade by codifying it into federal law, and believes that abortion should be safe, legal and rare, although it is not a choice she would personally make. She co-sponsored the Family Act for paid family and medical leave and endorsed universal basic income. She opposes military interventionism, although she has called herself a hawk on terrorism. Her decision to meet Syrian President Bashar al-Assad and her skeptical approach to two claims that he had used chemical weapons were controversial.  

After she dropped out of the Presidential campaign in 2020, Gabbard filed paperwork with the Federal Election Commission to change her presidential campaign committee, Tulsi Now into Tulsi Aloha, a leadership Political Action Committee (PAC), as well as a legal expense trust fund to pay off debts from the lawsuit against Clinton.  After leaving office, in January 2021, she announced starting a new podcast on her website.  The podcast is titled This is Tulsi Gabbard, which will be available on Spotify, Apple, Stitcher, and Google. Her website is also seeking donations for her leadership PAC.  She left the Hawaii National Guard, but currently serves as a major in the U.S. Army Reserve at a civil affairs command post in Silicon Valley, California. Tulsi Gabbard is a controversial politician who marches to the sound of her own drum.  She demonstrates her willingness to attack both Democrats as well as the Republicans.   Mazie Hirono, Kamala Harris, and Hillary Clinton amongst others have all been in her sights.  She supports the Green New Deal but refused to co-sponsor it with Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez.  Gabbard is very elusive to politically nail down.  She appears to prefer a Teflon-like exterior to which nothing positive or negative sticks for long.  Her age, gender, religion, military service, and political views make her an incredibly attractive candidate and a threat to the extent that established Democrats go out of their ways to personally attack her.   Since her Presidential campaign ended, she has deliberately strategized to influence political causes and women’s issues, candidates who share her platforms, and select political narratives through both funding and information.  She is maintaining her relevancy and seeking to expand it substantially.    

Picture of Washington Place Honolulu
Washington House, Honolulu

What does the future hold for Tulsi Gabbard?  Her official residence is still Hawaii; perhaps she could come back to Hawaii and run for Governor in 2022.  Why has she gone to Silicon Valley to focus on her Army Reserves career?  San Francisco is the unofficial political, financial, and information capital of California.  California’s population size, economic wealth, and opportunities far exceed those available in Hawaii.  Gabbard has gone to California to amass the financial resources and the political endorsements required for a political rebirth of sorts in the 2022 or the 2024 elections.  Given her views and her disposition, it should not be an unexpected surprise to see her serve in a future Republican administration in an influential cabinet secretary position.  It should also not be a surprise if she does run as a third-party candidate for high-level office at some point.  She will have difficulty outrunning her Syria visit, the Russian grooming accusations, and her present vote during Donald Trump’s first impeachment.  Regardless, none of us have seen or heard the last of Tulsi Gabbard.