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Who is Tulsi Gabbard?
Current job: US Representative for Hawaii’s 2nd congressional district. Major in the Hawaii Army National Guard. Running for president of the United States as a Democratic candidate.
Family: Gabbard is married to freelance cinematographer Abraham Williams.
Hometown: Honolulu, Hawaii
Political party: Democratic
Previous jobs: Hawaii House of Representatives from 2002 to 2004. Senate legislative aide from 2007 to 2009. Honolulu City Council from 2011 to 2012.
Who is Tulsi Gabbard’s direct competition for the nomination?
Based on a recurring series of national surveys we conduct, we can figure out who the other candidates competing in Tulsi Gabbard’s lane are, and who the broader opponents are within the party.
- Former Vice President Joe Biden is a frontrunner in the election and remains so – though a weaker one – among those satisfied with Gabbard.
- Business Insider
- Of those respondents who had heard of Gabbard, less than 20 percent would be satisfied with her as nominee, while over a third would be unsatisfied. Those are rough numbers for Gabbard. That also means our sample size of who her supporters like is fairly slim.
- Sens. Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren outperform among Gabbard supporters and are ideologically nearest to her. Those satisfied with Gabbard as the nominee were also disproportionately likely to be satisfied with Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand. However, with sample sizes like this it’s not great read too deeply into that.
INSIDER has been conducting a recurring poll through SurveyMonkey Audience on a national sample to find out how different candidate’s constituencies overlap. We ask people whether they are familiar with a candidate, whether they would be satisfied or unsatisfied with that candidate as nominee, and sometimes we also ask whether they think that person would win or lose in a general election against President Donald Trump.
What are Tulsi Gabbard’s political positions?
- On healthcare:
- Gabbard supports Sen. Bernie Sanders’ Medicare for All plan, which would provide universal healthcare to Americans via Medicare.
- “All Americans should have access to affordable healthcare through Medicare or a public option,” Gabbard’s website says.“We must ensure universal healthcare and empower the government to negotiate with pharmaceutical companies to bring down the price of prescription drugs.”
- “We don’t have a health care system, we have a sick care system,” Gabbard said during the July Democratic debate in Detroit.
- On immigration:
- Gabbard faced backlash from Democrats and progressives for voting in line with Republicans in 2015 for a bill to impose “extreme vetting” measures on Iraqi and Syrian refugees.
- Gabbard has been critical of President Donald Trump’s immigration policies and supported the “Keep Families Together Act” in defiance of the Trump administration’s “zero tolerance” policy at the border.
- Gabbard supports comprehensive immigration reform and the Obama-era “Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals” (DACA) program, which protects from deportation young undocumented people who came to the US as children.
- “The Trump administration’s use of children as pawns in the immigration debate is despicable and must end immediately. We obviously need comprehensive immigration reform.,” Gabbard said in June 2018.
- “We need to stop using immigrants as tokens in a political game and start talking solutions – funding to process asylum requests & targeted aid to address the decades of US intervention that contributed to the collapse of the countries they are fleeing,” Gabbard said in April 2019.
- On climate change:
- Gabbard wants to see the US move away from the use of fossil fuels.
- In 2015, she introduced the “OFF Fuels for a Better Future Act,” which would transition the US away from fossil fuel sources of energy to clean energy sources. The bill calls for 80% of electricity sold to be generated from clean energy resources by 2027 and 100% by 2035.
- The bill also calls for ending subsidies to the fossil fuel industry while banning fracking.
- On campaign finance:
- Gabbard has consistently called for campaign finance reform.
- “Politicians must represent and listen to the people who elected them to serve – not whatever lobbyist writes them the biggest check. It’s long past due for campaign finance reform in our country. PAC $$ has no place in politics and has no place in my people-powered campaign,” Gabbard said in a tweet in January.
- On abortion:
- Early on in her political career, Gabbard opposed abortion.
- Gabbard has since said she’s “committed to preserving a woman’s right to choose,” and has acknowledged shifting her position on this issue.
- In early 2019, Gabbard accused Democratic colleagues of religious bigotry over questions aimed at a Trump judicial nominee on his ability to remain impartial on issues like abortion due to his membership of the Catholic organization Knights of Columbus.
- On LGBTQ rights:
- In the early 2000s, worked for the Alliance for Traditional Marriage, an anti-gay organization led by her father.
- As a 22-year-old state legislator in Hawaii in 2004, Gabbard testified against a bill legalizing same-sex civil unions. She decried “homosexual extremists” as she voted against the legislation.
- Gabbard has since apologized for her past views toward the LGBTQ community.
- “In my past I said and believed things that were wrong, and worse, hurtful to people in the LGBTQ community and their loved ones … My views have changed significantly since then, and my record in Congress over the last six years reflects what is in my heart: A strong and ongoing commitment to fighting for LGBTQ rights,” Gabbard said in a video in early 2019.
- Gabbard supports same-sex marriage. She also opposes Trump’s ban on transgender people serving in the US military.
- On education:
- Gabbard has supported Sen. Bernie Sanders’ legislation to eliminate undergraduate tuition at colleges and universities.
- She wants to eliminate tuition and fees at four-year public colleges and universities for families that make up to $125,000 a year, and make community college tuition fee-free for everyone.
- On Supreme Court and congressional issues:
- While other 2020 Democrats have expressed support for increasing the number of justices on the Supreme Court, Gabbard’s views are currently unclear.
- It’s also unclear if Gabbard would support term limits for Supreme Court justices.
- Gabbard has said she’s open to discussing eliminating the Senate filibuster.
- On criminal justice reform:
- “Criminal justice reform must include strategies for dismantling the systemic racism that causes black men to disproportionately receive harsher sentences compared to other races and ethnicities for the same types of crime,” Gabbard said in February 2019.
- She’s co-sponsored legislation to reduce mass incarceration and lower recidivism.
- Gabbard has introduced legislation to decriminalize marijuana at the federal level.
- On trade:
- Gabbard strongly opposed the Trans-Pacific Partnership trade deal, describing it as a “bad deal for the American people.”
- The Hawaii lawmaker has criticized Trump’s trade war with China, and his economic policies more generally: “Trump’s basic misunderstanding of how trade works is starting to show up in devastating impacts to working Americans. We need a win-win global strategy based on cooperation, not confrontation.”
- Gabbard’s website for her 2018 reelection campaign says she “believes Americans should have peace of mind knowing that the health of their mortgage, retirement plan, or even salary isn’t tied to a roll of the dice on Wall Street.”
- On foreign policy:
- The Hawaii congresswoman is a combat veteran. She served in a field medical unit of the Hawaii Army National Guard in Iraq from 2004 to 2005, and was also deployed to Kuwait from 2008 to 2009.
- Gabbard is staunchly anti-interventionist. She’s opposed to “regime change wars,” and wants to see the US get out of Syria and Afghanistan. Gabbard is also worried about growing US involvement in Venezuela.
- In 2017, she traveled to Syria to meet with President Bashar al-Assad, an accused war criminal. She received sharp criticism from politicians on both sides of the aisle, which was compounded when Gabbard subsequently expressed skepticism Assad had used chemical weapons on civilians.
- Gabbard defended her meeting with Assad as an opportunity to promote peace through dialogue.
- “I have seen this cost of war firsthand, which is why I fight so hard for peace,” Gabbard said. “The only alternative to having these kinds of conversations is more war.”
- The US is not the “world’s police,” Gabbard said in Iowa in early 2019.
- Gabbard has faced criticism for not referring to Assad as an “enemy” of the US or a “war criminal.”
- Gabbard has been a vocal critic of Trump in his ongoing support for Saudi Arabia, particularly following the brutal killing of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi.
- Gabbard also believes it was a mistake for Trump to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal, but supports his dialogue with North Korea on denuclearization.
- She’s characterized herself as a “hawk” on terrorism.
- During July’s Democratic debate in Detroit, Gabbard said it’s time to “bring our troops home” from Afghanistan.
- “Every single day I saw the high cost of war … This is not about arbitrary deadlines, it is about leadership … We have to do the right thing, end these wasteful regime change wars, and bring our troops home,” Gabbard said from the debate stage in Detroit.
- When asked about the support she’s received from Russia over the campaign season so far in various ways, Gabbard in September told The Atlantic: “I don’t have any explanation for these things, other than the fact that the world and other countries, including Russia, are in agreeance that we are in a better place in the world when we’re not on the brink of nuclear war.”
- On taxes:
- Gabbard wants to see taxes increased for the wealthiest cohort of Americans and has criticized policies that give corporations tax breaks.
- In February, Gabbard tweeted, “Amazon reported a $129 million tax REBATE on $11.2 billion in profit last year, making their tax rate -1%. Meanwhile, working Americans are seeing their tax refunds drying up. We need an economy that works for all people. Not just Jeff Bezos.”
- Gabbard slammed Trump’s tax reform bill, describing it as a “failure” that resulted in “tax giveaways to corporations” while “adding $1.5 trillion to the national debt and not translating to relief for working Americans or benefiting small business.”
What are Tulsi Gabbard’s political successes?
- Gabbard is one of the first two female combat veterans to serve in Congress and is its first ever Hindu member.
- She was elected to the Hawaii State House to represent West Oahu at the age of 21, which made her the youngest woman ever elected to the state legislature.
- In 2013 Gabbard was elected vice chair of the Democratic National Committee.
How much money has Tulsi Gabbard raised?
- Gabbard raised $1.6 million in the second quarter of 2019 and has raised roughly $5.6 million overall.
How is Tulsi Gabbard viewed by voters compared to the competition?
INSIDER has conducted a number of other polls to check in on how these candidates are perceived in comparison to one another. When we asked respondents to one poll to rank how far to the left or to the right they considered the candidates, Gabbard was generally considered to be one of the more centrist candidates in the field. Gabbard was among the less experienced candidates int the field when we asked respondents to rank the candidates based on how prepared they are for the rigors of the presidency given what they knew about their history of public service and experience with government. And when asked how likable or personable respondents perceived the candidates to be, Gabbard emerged towards the bottom of the pack, possibly due to her low profile.
Could Tulsi Gabbard beat President Trump?
Referring back to INSIDER’s recurring poll, Tulsi Gabbard overall is believed to be a weaker candidate in a general election against Donald Trump compared to the whole field.
It’s very early and Gabbard has not had time to make an impact among the vast majority of voters, and of the Democrats who knew of her and weighed in the number who thought she would lose is three times larger than the number who though she would win. In politics this is considered a bad performance.
How do Democratic voters feel about Tulsi Gabbard’s qualifications?
INSIDER has conducted polling about how voters feel about candidate attributes or qualifications. We asked respondents about a list of possible qualifications and if they made them more likely or less likely to vote for a candidate for president.
For example, among respondents who said they’d vote in the Democratic primary, 19% said a candidate being a college professor made them likelier to support them, while 4% said it made them less likely to, for a +15% net favorability. We can then see how different candidates’ resumes stack up compared to those preferences.
Attributes perceived as most valuable include her position in the House of Representatives (+30%), that she is age 50 or younger (+23%), and an armed forces veteran (+17%).
An attribute considered to be a liability based on the preferences of self-reported Democratic voters is that she grew up wealthy (-42%).
Read more of our best stories on Tulsi Gabbard:
- Tulsi Gabbard’s foreign policy frustrates centrist Democrats, draws cheers from anti-interventionists, and makes her political identity tough to pigeonhole
- Tulsi Gabbard accuses NBC of trying to smear her as ‘Kremlin stooge’ to ‘discredit’ her 2020 campaign
- Tulsi Gabbard won’t call Syria’s Assad a war criminal as she dances around Stephen Colbert’s tough questioning
- Tulsi Gabbard doubles-down on opposition to US intervention in Syria, says Syrian president and accused war criminal Assad is not America’s ‘enemy’