In a not so shocking turn of events, Hawaiian Representative and 2020 White House hopeful Tulsi Gabbard has announced that she will not be attending the next Democratic primary debate.
She tweeted out late Monday evening, “For a number of reasons, I have decided not to attend the December 19th “debate” – regardless of whether or not there are qualifying polls.”
Instead, she says she has other plans for the evening. She said, “I instead choose to spend that precious time directly meeting with and hearing from the people of New Hampshire and South Carolina.”
And to be honest, who would blame her? The primary debates thus far have proved to be anything but informational. It is not so much a debate as it is a political game show, in which the Democratic Party gets to portray what they think are the best qualities of themselves.
The same thing has been said by the same candidates over and over again. And as Gabbard has pointed out, the amount of speaking time given to each candidate isn’t equal by a long shot, with those of the top tier nearly getting double the amount of time as lower-ranking members of the field.
However, it is an opportunity, nonetheless, to raise one’s public opinion and profile. And Gabbard could use that. According to the New York Times, she is on the “cusp” of qualifying for the debate and thus the rest of the candidacy. She isn’t doing terribly, but she certainly has plenty of room to grow if she hopes to make it into the top anything by the time 2020 arrives.
And she can’t deny that some of her current success is due to her past debate performances, in which she has done well in defending her ideals and herself, even putting the feisty Kamala Harris in her place a few times.
Gabbard did not go into detail about what any her reasons for refusing to attend might be, but we can only assume one of her main issues is that her annoyance with the DNC hasn’t abated.
On more than one occasion, Gabbard has ripped the DNC for seeming to “rig” the “2020 primary” in specific candidates’ favor.
This brings us to our wonder if she will actually not attend the debate. After all, in October, she was apparently so fed up with the DNC that she tweeted that she was “seriously considering” a boycott of the October 15th debate. However, in this instance, she did explain her reasoning somewhat.
She wrote, “I am seriously considering boycotting October 15 debate to bring attention to DNC/corporate media’s effort to rig 2020 primary.” She went on to say, “Not against Bernie this time, (who she has accused of stealing the show), but against voters in early states.”
But after all her complaints, she decided to participate in the debate anyway. She also showed up for the November debate, as well.
Another reason for her not wanting to go to December’s may, in fact, have something to do with her last time on that stage. As we said before, she has done well for the most part, and November was no different. However, she didn’t come away completely unscathed. Gabbard once again battled Kamala Harris and won but when she tried to do the same with Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, he was quick to let her know she has grievously erred. Perhaps, she fears a similar entanglement in December, especially since she will no longer have the easy target of Harris.
While she has threatened not to attend before, this time seems a bit more final. She didn’t say she was “considering” it. Instead, she said she would not be there. And she has apparently already made other plans for the evening.
However, anything could happen between now and then.
As Joe Biden has pointed out, it might be in the DNC’s best interest if they were to persuade her to attend somehow. Currently, the six candidates who qualified and will be attending are all very much on the white end of the spectrum. Both Cory Booker and Kamala Harris have pretty much accused American voters and donors of being racist as a result.
If Gabbard attends, who is of Samoan descent and the only member of Congress to currently practice Hindu, the DNC might be able to claim some diversity within their ranks.
But it doesn’t look like Gabbard will be doing them any favors.