Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential campaign hasn’t officially launched yet but it’s already melting down.
Two-and-a-half weeks after the Hawaii Democrat told CNN she had decided to run for the White House—an announcement that even her own staff didn’t know was coming, after weeks of debating the timing of the rollout—the 37-year-old congresswoman has struggled to contain the chaos.
Campaign manager Rania Batrice and Gabbard’s consulting firm Revolution Messaging are set to depart after this weekend’s official kickoff in Hawaii, two sources familiar with the situation told POLITICO. Gabbard is leaning on her sister, Vrindavan, to fill the void.
Meanwhile, the congresswoman is under fire back home after picking a fight with Sen. Mazie Hirono (D-Hawaii), and a prominent Democratic state lawmaker is already challenging Gabbard in next year’s congressional primary. That means she faces the possibility of losing the presidential race and her House seat as well.
For years, Gabbard has been regarded as a rising star in the Democratic Party, and supporters hoped she could use a presidential bid to pressure party elites toward a non-interventionist foreign policy. But her early campaign stumbles and problems back home—where at times she’s had sky-high approval ratings—call into question whether the Hawaii lawmaker can compete on the national stage.
If her vanity bid costs her her House seat, that would be…an optimal outcome. The obvious problem here is that Gabbard is far too conservative to be a viable 2020 candidate, and her only fans are people who evaluate candidates solely on whether they endorsed Bernie in 2016, only those people will…all be backing Bernie in 2020. However, the good news is that the “supports or supported Bashar al-Assad, Narendra Modi, *and* gay conversion therapy” lane in the Democratic primary remains wiiiiiiide open!
And yet, Gabbard isn’t even the most ridiculous candidate to have entered the Democratic primary:
So, uh, Richard Ojeda left his state senate seat to concentrate on running for president. TEN DAYS later he quit the presidential race. In the meantime, WV's GOP governor replaced him with a more conservative senator. https://t.co/lMINPeoUed
— Dave Weigel (@daveweigel) January 25, 2019
Great work! I wonder why this was such a spectacular flameout? Let’s check in with his most prominent hagiographer’s postmortem:
Ojeda said he is planning to announce his next move soon. He launched his presidential bid in November, running as an unapologetic class warrior from an area of the country Donald Trump won handily. (Ojeda voted for Trump and turned on the president early in his term.)
I’m reminded about Bill James’s famous riff about Joe Jackson and the Hall of Fame. Yes, we should consider Ojeda for president…after literally every eligible adult who didn’t vote for Donald J. Trump announces they’re not seeking the nomination. (I also love the idea that he quickly decided that maybe voting for a cross between Calvin Coolidge and George Wallace wasn’t such a great idea so it wasn’t that bad. That ain’t it, chief.) I wish had kept his Senate seat before launching on his vanity campaign, but I hope he keeps up the labor activism and realizes that national politics isn’t going to be the job for him.