Tulsi Gabbard Threatening To Boycott Debate. Would Anyone Notice? [UPDATED]

Tulsi Gabbard, who managed to qualify for tomorrow's fourth Democratic debate after missing out on the third, is threatening to boycott what may be her last chance to make her case to a national audience.

Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, Spent the better part of September complaining about the fact that she had failed to qualify for the Democratic Party’s third debate. As it turns out, she did end up qualifying for the fourth debate to be held in Ohio next week but now she’s threatening to boycott that debate to protest what she claims are unfair rules set by the Democratic National Committee:

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) says she may boycott the Democratic presidential debate next week, accusing the Democratic National Committee (DNC) and media of “rigging” the primary contest against outsider candidates such as herself.

Gabbard pointed to what she described as “arbitrary” and nontransparent qualification requirements as evidence party leaders “are trying to hijack the entire election process.”

The Hawaii Democrat, who has hit the qualification thresholds for Tuesday’s debate in Ohio, said she’d decide in the coming days whether to participate.

“The 2016 Democratic Primary election was rigged by the DNC and their partners in the corporate media against Bernie Sanders,” Gabbard said in a statement.

“In this 2020 election, the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again, but this time against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.”
Gabbard didn’t qualify for the party’s debate in September and would miss out on a televised chance to reach millions of voters by skipping the debate. But the threat to boycott the debate also promises to win attention for her campaign. 

Twelve candidates have qualified for next week’s debate, but the DNC has repeatedly raised the thresholds to qualify, keeping four candidates who are still in the race on the sidelines.

To qualify for the October debate, candidates had to collect contributions from 130,000 unique donors and register at least 2 percent in four approval polls.

(…)

“They are attempting to replace the roles of voters in the early states, using polling and other arbitrary methods which are not transparent or democratic, and holding so-called debates which are not debates at all but rather commercialized reality television meant to entertain, not inform or enlighten,” Gabbard said. “In short, the DNC and corporate media are trying to hijack the entire election process.”

This is a seemingly bizarre position for Gabbard to take. As it stands, she is currently averaging near the bottom of the polls on the national and state level. On the national level, she is averaging less than 1% according to RealClearPolitics, and she isn’t doing much better in the early states. Her best performance appears to be in Iowa, where she’s averaging 2.3%, and in New Hampshire, where she’s averaging 2.5%. In Nevada, she is averaging 1.5%, though, and in South Carolina, she’s averaging 1.0%. Boycotting one of the few chances she’s likely to get to make a national impression seems like a foolish idea to me.

Update @ 8:45 am: Gabbard is now saying this morning that she will be at the debate.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2020, US Politics, ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020.

Comments

  1. SKI says:

    Assad and Putin…

  2. OzarkHillbilly says:

    A lot of DEMs are cheering.

    1
  3. Mu says:

    With her cultist background, good riddance. The mud slinging if she’d be polling higher would be horrendous.

  4. As I note in an update, Gabbard is now saying she’ll be at the debate.

    1
  5. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @Doug Mataconis: That does it. I promised to send her campaign some bucks if she skipped it, not no more.

    3
  6. al Ameda says:

    “In this 2020 election, the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again, but this time against the American people in the early voting states of Iowa, New Hampshire, South Carolina, and Nevada.”

    She’s now the one exception to my informal rule that I will vote for ‘any’ Democrat.
    Just go away Tulsi.

    4
  7. Gustopher says:

    @Doug Mataconis:

    Gabbard is now saying she’ll be at the debate.

    Boo. Hiss. Etc.

    1
  8. Monala says:

    She may be thinking, “Hey, accusing the DNC of rigging the election helped Bernie!” She is seemingly ignoring that Sanders was a lot more popular than she is (and that he was wrong).

  9. Tyrell says:

    She is one Democratic candidate whom* I would consider voting for. I will not vote for anyone who does not have active military experience.
    “rigging the election again”: she got that right for sure. The rigging started long before now. Before 2016. Read “The Real Making of the President” (1960)
    * Who/whom – I think I got that right (can’t find my college language handbook)

    2
  10. David S. says:

    @Tyrell: Nope. It’s “who” in that context. You might want to check your middle school handbook instead.

    1
  11. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Tyrell: Get rid of the dangling preposition, and your problem will be solved. “She is the one Democratic candidate for whom I would consider voting.” See? Easy peasy.

    (Yes, I know that dangling prepositions happen all the time and that either “who” or “whom” is equally well understood in that sentence. I’m just yanking his chain. 😛 )

    1
  12. de stijl says:

    Yeah. At this point I see her as Joe Lieberman 2.0

    Good luck with that.

    1
  13. Monala says:

    @Tyrell:

    I will not vote for anyone who does not have active military experience.

    So you won’t be voting for Trump, then?

    2
  14. de stijl says:

    @Monala:

    Snap!

    1