One Thumb Up: My 2020 Democratic Candidate Review of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Revised to two-thumbs down and a run for your life.

One Thumb Up: My 2020 Democratic Candidate Review of Rep. Tulsi Gabbard
Rep. Tulsi Gabbard

Representative Tulsi Gabbard is a candidate to keep your eyes on if she can manage to niche her way out of the crowded playing field. She has a few concerns, but they are huge issues that she’ll need to address over the next year or so to comfort inquiring minds like mines.

She’s a hell of a lot more qualified than the evil we have in office now, and it appears this young lady has some ethics and integrity. That’s important to me. Gabbard has been in Congress for 6 years, and she has a long list of bills she’s sponsored or co-sponsored demonstrating issues Americans care about. Please take time to look at her record.

My General Assessment:

Gabbard was the youngest woman to be elected to a U.S. state legislature. General housekeeping stuff. She’s all for Medicare for All, Pro-Abortion Rights, does not support the Trans-Pacific Partnership, and she has since changed her opposing stance on same-sex marriage of 2020 (which is questionable — see my comments in concerns section).

Since taking her seat in Congress in 2013, of all the Congressional Representatives, Representative Gabbard has the most bills sponsored or co-sponsored that have become law of any candidate from Congress officially running for president. I was impressed!

Tulsi Gabbard
Sponsored legislation by Tulsi Gabbard, the Representative from Hawaii - in Congress from 2019 through Present

Some of the Bill/Acts sponsored or co-sponsored by Gabbard that have passed include the Veterinary Medicine Mobility Act of 2014, the Homeowner Flood Insurance Affordability Act of 2014, the Philippines Charitable Giving Assistance Act of 2014, the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act or the FAST Act, the Preventing Maternal Deaths Act of 2017, the Frederick Douglass Trafficking Victims Prevention and Protection Reauthorization Act of 2018, the North Korea Sanctions and Policy Enhancement Act of 2016, the For the People Act, and the Harry W. Colmery Veterans Educational Assistance Act of 2017.

Bills sponsored or co-sponsored Gabbard crossed party lines. This, in my opinion, highlights She works well with others Congressmen and women from the opposing party. That’s what we need, someone who can work with others regardless of party affiliation. I’m sick and tired of the partisanship in both parties.

Legislation supported by Representative Gabbard highlights she’s somewhat thoughtful about the issues within her district impacting her constituents and the American people. Like all the other representatives, she has a lot of legislation that was introduced but never went anywhere, and plenty of support for medals and awards.

The Representative has also called for the restoration of the Glass–Steagall Act. The Glass–Steagall legislation describes four provisions of the U.S.A Banking Act of 1933 separating commercial and investment banking. Nobel Prize in Economics laureate Joseph Stiglitz has argued that the effect of the repeal of this act was the indirect cause of the financial collapse of 2007–08. Stiglitz believes the repeal of Glass-Steagall brought investment and commercial banks together, and the investment-bank culture came out on top. Although the bill did not become law, it’s nice to see Gabbard does believe in banking regulations.

Gabbard is one of the first two female combat veterans ever to serve in Congress and is its first ever Hindu member. She 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. This, is in my opinion, could be a good thing because she understands the human toll of war and could hopefully make decisions regarding how we enter (and get out of) major conflicts globally. She is critical of aspects of U.S. foreign policy regarding Iraq, Libya, and Syria.

Gabbard’s foreign policy views are quite notable and not discussed enough. She opposes removing Syrian President Bashar al-Assad from power by force. Her previous foreign policy views are a breath of fresh air, although enough is not known about her proposed policies and stances today. I’m tired of warmongering America. Her prior foreign policy views appear to consider the people who will be negatively impacted/harmed by our interventions.

Representative Gabbard has been one of a handful of Members of Congress that do not accept corporate campaign donations. She has committed to not accepting contributions from special interest political action committees or lobbyists and has consequently been endorsed by End Citizens United. She understands how corporate donors and shadow PACs harm our democracy and believes (without saying) whoring herself out to special interest groups would prevent her from representing the people she was elected to serve.

I really like her because it seems she seems to have an independent streak that is quite attractive to me personally. Gabbard is a member of the Democratic Party and was the Vice Chair of the Democratic National Committee until February 28, 2016, when she resigned to endorse Senator Bernie Sanders for the 2016 Democratic presidential nomination. That’s a huge deal and signals to me she is not loyal to the Democratic party and perhaps Representative Gabbard really understands the progressive movement (and party corruption) better than most.

My Concerns/Apprehensions:

Representative Gabbard had some very strong anti-gay views as a young conservative that she blames on her parents and her upbringing. She conveniently apologized for those views when she decided to run for Congress. Apparently, RepresentativeGabbard didn’t feel the need to until it was for her benefit. I take issue with a person who can infringe upon someone else’s sexual preference and identity rights due to her warped views on religion, and I take offense to the late apology for her problem with gays.

Another huge issue for me is that since 2013, there is no Civil Rights and Liberties and Minority Issues sponsored or co-sponsored by Representative Gabbard. That’s a red flag, especially with the retreat of LGBTQ rights with the current administration. Gabbard has been benefiting from the support of women’s organizations (i.e. Planned Parenthood) but hasn’t demonstrated strong support for the basic civil rights of citizens, in particular people of color.

In her six years since taking office, she hasn’t attempted any legislation pertaining to civil rights in spite of the uptick in hate crimes and White Nationalism. She also hasn’t done anything “meaningful” to protect the rights of the LGBTQ community if she was sincere about her views. She did co-sponsor the Equality for All Resolution of 2015, that basically expresses the sense of the House of Representatives that lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals are valuable, contributing members of society who deserve equal treatment under the law.

It’s not a bill and doesn’t mean shit (lol). Also, she co-sponsored/introduced the Equality Act of 2017–18, which would have amended the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to include sex, sexual orientation, and gender identity among the prohibited categories of discrimination or segregation in places of public accommodation if passed. Presently, there is no movement. Nothing happened. The bill was introduced, that’s all.

I conducted a specific search on this member of LGBTQ Civil Rights and Liberties and whether she sponsor or co-sponsored any LGBTQ legislation during her tenure in Congress. She has not. In my opinion that says more than she could ever apologize for or explain away. Her mouth and her motives don’t align. Her apology was hollow. She is strategic, and the lack of effort on the issue makes me believe she doesn’t really support all the people. She did introduce the Original LGBTQ Pride Month Resolution of 2018 (last year, right before she decided to run, no surprise here).

I perceive the effort as a fake olive branch. For some people, meaningless words smooth away all the wrongs and making things right for them. For me, actions matter.

I’m a little concerned about her some of her decisions, like her decision to meet with the President-Elect Trump at Trump Tower to discuss “Syria.” There were rumors she was being considered for a position in the Trump Administration. The fact that she would consider an offer in the early phases of this now corrupt gang-like administration makes me really queasy. Only 29% of Hawaiians supported Trump, and only a small percentage of the state is White. Gabbard was considering disregarding the will of her people for her ambition. That bothers me a little.

Important Update (1/29/19): One of readers (John Pickett III) pointed out something (White Nationalist ties) not noted in any of the research I found on Representative Gabbard. Gabbard was endorsed in 2016 by David Duke, the White Nationalist, Holocaust denier, and former Imperial Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan as the top pick for President Trump’s Secretary of State.

Here are the reasons White Nationlists love Gabbard. She’s a lawmaker who has a soft spot for dictatorial regimes. She pals around with Sheldon Adelson. She’s declined to sign onto an assault weapons ban. She opposes admitting refugees. She a frequent fixture on Fox News, where she has slammed President Obama over his refusal to use the term “Islamic extremism” to refer to terror attacks.

Additionally in 2015, Gabbard, along with 47 other Democrats signed legislation that opposed Syrian refugees from coming to America. The GOP-backed plan to tightened the vetting process for refugees blocking their ability to seek asylum for immigration purposes. Sounds familiar?

Also of note, Gabbard was the only Democrat to vote against condemning the gross violations of international law amounting to war crimes and crimes against humanity by the Government of Syria, its allies, and other parties to the conflict in Syria, and asking the President to direct his Ambassador at the United Nations to promote the establishment of a war crimes tribunal where these crimes could be addressed.

Her thoughts in her own words:

“Bad enough US has not been bombing al-Qaeda/al-Nusra in Syria. But it’s mind-boggling that we protest Russia’s bombing of these terrorists,”

Gabbard wrote this on the first day of the Russian intervention in Syria. She sounds super neo-conservative to me! This explains the feelings/reservations I had about her lack of interest in civil rights issue. It all makes sense. As soon as I get access to campaign finance details to find out if she’s received Russian donations, I’ll keep update this section again.

In the words of former Florida Gubernatorial candidate Andrew Gilliam during the 2018 Florida governors race, if she’s not racist, the racists thinks she’s racist. That says something to me.

Thanks John Pickett III for the heads up. It’s going to take us all to put these pieces together so we’re better informed.

My Conclusion:

I like Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. I dislike her lack of footprint on Civil Rights and LGBTQ issues. I notice national candidates of color like to play it safe when pandering for White votes and White/Jewish donors for fear of being labeled. Not willing or able to discuss issues of race or specific sub-groups will be a huge drawback for her.

I will give her one thumb up because her congressional record is extremely robust/versatile. She’s voted on a lot of different issues that concern many different American subgroups, that’s a plus.

I’m a little suspect about her lack of Civil Rights record, but again it’s a fine line all candidates of color must walk. Black and Brown likability is a huge issue, and Whiteness must be massaged, tickled, pleased and appeased which means smaller subgroups like the LGBTQ communities and communities of color lose out or are overlooked. If she can’t speak more to social justice issues and provide a plan/legislation to undo the harm done by the current administration, I can’t support her. Women’s Rights/Feminist Agendas are not the only agendas the Democratic Party needs to address.

I don’t feel safe right now, and no one is addressing that fear.

In any event like I always so, you must make your own decisions. Do more research, watch all the candidates, and then make an informed decision. This is the season we all need to get to know our evils better.

There is no such thing as a perfect candidate just like there is is no such thing as a perfect spouse/partner. Life is about what you can live with and what you can tolerate.

Be skeptical. Be rational. Be reasonable. And most importantly, let us all be realistic. I give her a one thumb up and a hard look. I’m looking the other way if White Nationalists are endorsing her. She’s not as progressive as she says she is.

Be careful who you vote for. Your vote may cause other humans to be harmed. Gabbard is looking more and more like a person who really isn’t doesn’t believe in human rights, and I can’t go for that!

Update (8/7/19): Since my initial review, Gabbard has shown why she isn’t trustworthy. She recently created a video from her 2020 campaign spreading Fox News/Trump talking points regarding the Mueller report, stating there was no collusion. The report did not say that. Tulsi Gabbard in my opinion is a ringer to split the Dem vote. Therefore, she gets two thumbs down from me. I cannot deal with someone lying to me and mincing words to enable white supremacy.

Marley K., January 2019

Visit her websites to learn more about her run:

Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard
Representing the 2nd District of Hawaii
Run Tulsi Run
Find out what you can do to move our platform. Get involved Tulsi Gabbard (born April 12, 1981) is an American…