The results are in. Unfortunately for Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard, not much has changed for her.
They generally show the same results; Biden and Sanders took hits, Harris and Warren soared, and Representative Tulsi Gabbard remained consistent.
The progressive and media wings of the Democratic Party seem to have learned from their 2016 mistakes. They haven’t wielded identity politics like the weapon it once was during the 2016 election. However, the sentiments are still clearly alive.
The “old, white male,” embodied by both Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, is losing popularity. Of course, it didn’t help that Joe Biden got hammered during the debates. Similarly, Bernie Sanders performed badly, not being able to directly answer many questions, including how to make Medicare for All work.
In fact, the progressive wing of the Democratic Party has made it clear; they want to elect the first woman president. Hillary Clinton may have been their first nominee in 2016, but she will not be the last.
Warren has been popular within the party since her defeat of then-incumbent Republican Scott Brown. By contrast, Kamala Harris’ popularity has risen only recently. Regardless of the timing, they are both popular and they both performed well during the debates.
So where does this leave Tulsi?
Tulsi may not have gained in these major polls, but she has not lost any momentum either. In fact, in various smaller ways she scored key victories in and following her debate performance.
In a heated exchange with Tim Ryan, Tulsi Gabbard scored a clear victory. This was a pivotal moment in her candidacy. After all, Tulsi Gabbard has largely defined her candidacy by her anti-war platform. While she didn’t perform poorly in her first debate, her debate victory against Ryan caused her to stand out.
Evidently, Google produced search results following the first debate night. According to them, Tulsi Gabbard was the most-searched Democratic Candidate after the Miami debate.
In fact, Google searches isn’t the only area Gabbard was victorious. In a post-debate Drudge Report poll, Gabbard was considered to have won the debate with 40% of the votes cast.
There is one clear path that Gabbard can take, but it won’t be easy.
With Bernie sliding in the polls, Tulsi should starting working with the Sanders campaign to work towards victory. After all, in February of 2016, Tulsi Gabbard endorsed Bernie Sanders. As a result, Gabbard and Sanders are considered allies to begin with.
While acting earlier would be better, it is likely the Sanders campaign would wait for better indicators that their bid for the candidacy is lost. Gabbard must convince the Sanders campaign to suspend with an endorsement of Gabbard.
The pro-Sanders base is dedicated. His endorsement would undoubtedly carry most of his supporters over to Tulsi. Doing so would pull Tulsi Gabbard much closer to the head of the pack.
As the two most prominent women in the Democratic Party surge, now is the time for Tulsi to charge ahead.
Unfortunately, this maneuver would cost the Gabbard campaign, because this is politics.
However, I do not think the Gabbard campaign would not be disappointed in the stakes. For Bernie’s full support and his base, Tulsi could offer a cabinet position as the head of the Department of Health and Human Services.
Considering his vehement support for a single-payer system, such a position might be desirable to him. If not, she should offer to put him on the ticket. However, placing Sanders on the ticket would not help win the moderate base of the Democrats.
Additionally, she could offer Sanders a lead position in the drafting of a Medicare for All bill. This would need to be accompanied with a promise that Medicare for All would be her primary focus for landmark reform.
Ensuring him the chance at bringing his healthcare vision to life is the primary bargaining chit Tulsi has to work with Sanders. And unfortunately for Sanders, is the best way for him to win without actually winning the nomination.
Time will tell what Representative Gabbard and her campaign will do to win. At this point, this strategy seems to be the best option.