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‘Elitist Cabal of Warmongers’: Tulsi Gabbard Quits US Democratic Party

The move comes amid deepening ties between Democrats and Republicans ahead of critical 8 November midterm elections.

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Former United States Congresswoman and 2020 presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard has announced that she is leaving the Democratic Party, calling it an “elitist cabal of warmongers.” 

“I can no longer remain in today’s Democratic party that is under the complete control of an elitist cabal of warmongers who are driven by cowardly wokeness, who divide us by racialising every issue and stoking anti-white racism.”
Tulsi Gabbard in a video announcement posted to Twitter

Over the weekend, she said the administration “does not care about the American people”.

In a short from her 28-minute podcast titled “Why I'm leaving the Democratic Party,” she said: 

“If you can no longer stomach the direction that so-called woke Democratic Party ideologues are taking our country, I invite you to join me.”

This development comes amid deepening polarisation between the Democrats and Republicans ahead of the critical midterm elections set for 8 November.

The midterms will determine whether Republicans or Democrats hold the control of Congress and will directly impact the second half of President Joe Biden’s four year tenure. 

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Who is Tulsi Gabbard?

Tulsi Gabbard was first elected to her home state of Hawaii's legislature in 2002 as a Democrat, at the age of 21. While she did not have any previous political affiliations, she said that she has identified as a Democrat ever since.

In 2012, she became the first Samoan-American voting member and first practicing Hindu to be elected to US Congress. 

A US Army veteran, she represented Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District between 2013 and 2021. She remained a Democrat, at least on paper, for 20 years until her resignation on Tuesday. 

She served as a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in an Iraqi combat zone from 2004 to 2005 and was subsequently deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009. 

Gabbard begun building a national profile during the US' 2016 presidential election after she resigned from her post as vice-chairperson of the Democratic National Committee (DNC) , the party’s governing body.

But as Gabbard progressed and hoped to make her mark, culminating in a successful presidential bid, her political instincts were tested and her judgement was often called into doubt. 

A series of unexpected and hard-to-explain conflicts, over her various opinions, with people ideally meant-to-be ideological allies, now defined Gabbard’s political career.

For the Democrats, Gabbard both picked the wrong fights – Bill Clinton, Barack Obama and Democratic Senators – and also attracted the wrong fans, from Fox News’ Tucker Carlson and former Donald Trump aide Steve Bannon, among many others. 

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Not a Run-of-the-Mill Democrat

Gabbard is anything but your run-of-the-mill Democrat, with plenty of opinions that sat uncomfortably with the Democratic Party.

During her time in Congress, she frequently appeared on Fox News and criticised the Barack Obama administration for “refusing” to call “radical islam” the US’ “real enemy.” 

Her attitudes on foreign policy, meanwhile, have often favoured authoritarian figures disavowed by her party. Even during her presidential bid, Gabbard highlighted her opposition to military intervention, to the Democrats’ dismay.

Moreover, she “secretly” met Syrian President Bashar-al-Assad on a one-week "fact-finding mission.” She expressed skepticism at claims that Syria carried out atrocities using chemical weapons under Assad’s leadership . 

At a debate during her presidential campaign, Gabbard received flack from now-Vice President Kamala Harris for not calling Assad a “war criminal.” 

Rebuked Her Own Party

In 2013, Gabbard was criticised for voting against a bipartisan resolution in the House condemning the 2002 anti-muslim violence in Gujarat which left over 1,000 majoritarily Muslim people dead. 

She said there was a lot of “misinformation” around the widespread violence and spoke highly of then-chief minister Narendra Modi. 

Her bonafides as a Democrat were suspect even during her Presidential bid. With a history of anti-LGBTQ activism, Gabbard has described homosexuality as "unhealthy, abnormal behavior that should not be promoted or accepted in society.”
“They're (the Biden Administration) taking away opportunities and futures from girls in sports by allowing transgender athletes who until recently identified as men and who clearly have a biological advantage of being a man to compete against women.”
Tulsi Baggard in her resignation video.
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In 2016, the then-Congresswoman announced that she was leaving the DNC to endorse Bernie Sanders during the Democratic presidential nomination. 

However in a particularly unusual move for a Democrat, she spoke at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), which is a gathering of the US’ conservative officials and political activists. 

This, and multiple other rebukes of her own Democratic Party, including her blaming the Russian invasion of Ukraine on Biden’s foreign policy, gave rise to massive public disagreement from establishment Democrats.

(At The Quint, we are answerable only to our audience. Play an active role in shaping our journalism by becoming a member. Because the truth is worth it.)

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Topics:  Republicans   US Senate   Democratic Party 

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