Following the first Democratic debate, users from Pro-Trump communities on 4chan and Reddit purposely instructed each other to tip online polls in favor of dark horse candidates like Andrew Yang and Tulsi Gabbard. Several news outlets took the bait, reporting that the unscientific Drudge Report, had Tulsi in the 3 to one over it’s second place finisher, Elizabeth Warren. Users on 4chan repeatedly linked each other to online polls with the instruction to “blow the polls out,” for Gabbard.
All the articles I found seemed to imply that the purpose of this was to dissuade Democratic voters into picking a weaker candidate. But if one stops to think about, this is a very odd strategy for Donald Trump supporters to pursue, considering that Donald himself was at first considered a dark horse candidate. A former Democrat with no political experience, traditional political manners, or any of the other attributes considered to be presidential, establishment circles from both parties scoffed at the possibility of a Trump presidency to the very night of his “shocking” victory over the DNC’s handpicked candidate, Hillary Clinton.
Yet even without interference from trolls, polls can be both misleading, and directional. For most of the 2016 Democratic primary, media outlets like CNN and MSNBC reported Hillary with a massive lead over Bernie Sanders, even though much of this lead was due to Hillary’s strength among superdelegates. This created the impression that Hillary’s lead was unsurmountable, and possibly deterred many would be Bernie Sanders supporters, from going to the polls, because why bother anyway?
Similarly, even if Gabbard’s lead in some polls was falsified, all of the historical evidence shows that veteran and senator Tulsi Gabbard would actually be one of the strongest contenders to beat Donald Trump, not because she panders to moderate conservatives, as Hillary Clinton did, but because her message is so strong, unique, and genuine that she draws support from conservatives despite running on an unapologetically progressive platform. Praising her stand against the normalization of endless warfare, Fox News host Tucker Carlson called her the “the voice of reason” among Democratic Candidates. Ann Coulter tweeted out.
Go, Tulsi! (I’m watching the debate on delay. She just attacked Ryan’s “engaged” in Afghanistan speech.)— Ann Coulter (@AnnCoulter) June 27, 2019
Unlike anyone Tulsi Gabbard places the message of building peace by challenging the military industrial complex front and center, making her campaign an uncommon breath of fresh air in hawkish American politics. And the American people agree with her. Polling data from the Pew Research Center shows that major recent or ongoing American led war efforts are unpopular with the majority of both the general public, and even veterans. 64 percent of veterans say the war in Iraq was not worth fighting while only 33 percent say it was. Among the public, 62 percent of the general public say the Iraq war was not worth it, 32 percent say it was. 55 percent of veterans, and 58 percent of the general public say that the campaign in Syria was not worth fighting. 59 percent of the public, and 58 percent of veterans believe the war in Afghanistan was not worth it.
Although there are several Democratic candidates running in support of medicare for all, Gabbard’s consistent, proven fight against the massive levels of corruption, constant warmongering, and the normalization of endless regime change wars places her in a unique position to challenge Donald Trump. Although Trump espoused some of the same anti-establishment values as a candidate, he ended up enacting foreign policy which is far more hawkish and in line with the Establishment norm than he would like voters to believe.
Trump is once again pumping up our already massive levels of military spending. His proposed military budget for the year 2020 includes 750 billion dollars for defense, a 34 billion dollar increase from the year 2019. 100 billion dollars of this is to be funneled into the Overseas Contingency Operations Account, a slush fund used for increasing military spending past what congressional budget limits allow. As Chistopher A. Preble writes for the CATO institute,
“For a person who was elected to the presidency by railing against the foreign policy establishment, proclaiming America’s overly militarized foreign policy a “complete and total disaster,” and, most recently, declaring in his State of the Union address that “great nations do not fight endless wars,” President Trump has once again funded a military geared toward perpetuating the status quo, and remaining embroiled in the endless wars that he’s promised to quit.”
So keep pumping up Gabbard’s numbers, just don’t regret it if she actually wins the nomination. That would make for a very exciting general election indeed.