November 13, 2019

In Blog News

Krystal Ball credits Gabbard’s upswing in 2020 race to ‘feckless’ Democratic establishment

Opinion by: Krystal Ball

Well it is yet to be seen whether Hillary Clinton‘s eventual endorsement will be at all helpful to the lucky candidate who receives it, but we can now say for certain that her anti-endorsement is in fact tremendously helpful. Hillary’s smearing of Tulsi as a Russian asset has given Tulsi’s campaign a needed boost. In fact, a new poll has her at 6% in New Hampshire that puts her just behind only the top 4 of Biden, Warren, Buttigieg and Sanders. Still waiting for the neo-liberal celebrations that a woman of color is surging at a key moment in the race. By the way, top-tier Kamala managed only 1%.

So all of this means that Hillary not only gave Tulsi an assist in qualifying for next week’s debate, she’s also put her right on the cusp of the heightened December debate criteria. Tulsi now only needs 1 more poll at 4% or better to make it into that round as well. At this point she seems pretty likely to get it since she’s got an entire month to accomplish that. Keep in mind, of the approximately 379,000 candidates who ran for the Democratic nomination, only 6 have so far qualified for the December debate so it’s really nothing to sneeze at. The accomplishment is made, of course, even more impressive by the fact that the media and the Democratic establishment have done absolutely everything they possibly can to try to destroy Tulsi. They’ve called her childhood weird, accused her of being in a cult, questioned her patriotism at every instance, and insinuated that she’s a white nationalist, which is weird since she’s of Samoan descent and was the first Hindu to serve in Congress. Just take a look at this recent exchange with Joy Behar, where rather than talk about her policies, she instead has to explain that she’s not a Russian asset or a useful idiot and defend her willingness to go on Fox News.

Again, you may have valid critiques of Tulsi’s policies, that’s fine. But this has been something else entirely. Ever since she dared resign from the DNC and back Bernie over Hillary, the establishment has been doing their very best to silence her. That she’s managed to achieve some momentum in spite of all that shows you just how persistent she is and just how weak and feckless they are. They can’t even crush one dissenter and the other guy they loathe is the most adored politician in the country with the biggest crowds, most donors, and greatest enthusiasm.

There’s some additional data of note in this poll as well, though. In New Hampshire, which has an open primary system, Tulsi does extraordinarily well with independents. In fact, she is tied with Elizabeth Warren for independent support. In addition, she does very well with those who describe themselves as moderate or conservative. Now Tulsi’s spot on the traditional ideological spectrum is kind of hard to peg because her views are heterodox so at the same time that she’s finding support with self-described conservatives, her supporters also tell pollsters overwhelmingly that their second choice is Bernie Sanders who is of course the only true leftist in the race. So, the first thing that I would say about that is for many voters establishment versus anti-establishment is really a more important barometer than the typical left right spectrum, or maybe authentic versus inauthentic or principled versus pandering. We see it literally every day on this show. There is a massive group of Americans who’s first commitment is to ending the disgusting bipartisan consensus of corruption, corporatism, and war profiteering that has so damaged our nation.

But there was something else I found really amusing here. So, all day long every day we are told by the Times and the Post and CNN and MSNBC and everyone who ever goes on Morning Joe that to win we must appeal to moderate voters. Gotta pick a centrist who can win over those indies and those more conservative voters. We’re told all the time that we should just throw our principles to the wind and back whoever has the best chance of beating Donald Trump because otherwise Nazis. Well here you go. Here is a candidate with genuine crossover support from Republicans and independents and moderates and conservatives. A veteran! A woman of color! The youngest woman ever to serve in the Hawaii state legislature! Come on establishment, isn’t she everything you told us we should want in a candidate? Yes, yes I know you don’t like her but remember? We’re supposed to suck it up and vote for the electable candidate no matter what! Otherwise you are a bot or a Putin puppet or a traitor or whatever. And if you don’t just automatically line up behind that person because of unity, then also you love Trump.

So I’ve been waiting for the establishment Democratic punditocracy to come together and announce their support of Tulsi since just judging by this crossover support she may well be the most electable candidate. Still waiting for the elite media to switch from writing deep dives speculating on Tulsi’s nefarious motives to puff pieces on how she may well be a female Obama. Because just like CNN’s Jeff Zeleny said about Pete Buttigieg, “Both represent a fresh face, and are calling for change.” I mean both Tulsi and Obama did run on anti-war platforms. Obama didn’t actually deliver on that but whatever. Someone get a camera crew to New Hampshire fast!

Weirdly and I know you’re going to be shocked by this, it would appear that Tulsi’s bipartisan and moderate support is being used as yet another way to dismiss her candidacy. Here’s Nate Silver:

“Tusli is the choice of people who plan to vote in the Democratic party but don’t like Democrats and most of the things Democrats stand for.”

Personally I thought that candidate was Amy Klobuchar. Anyway, congrats to Tulsi on her campaign’s upswing and on her success in getting all the right people to hate her.