Krystal Ball: ‘The weird obsession and freakout over Tulsi Gabbard has massively helped her’

Opinion by: Krystal Ball 

Saagar and I were deeply amused yesterday when Jonathan Chait accused us of being “Republican run media” as part of an elaborate scheme that he claimed to uncover to throw the election to Trump, hidden in plain sight in a Tulsi Gabbard Wall Street Journal op-ed. 

First of all, in this piece by Chait, we are told to be deeply suspicious of the very fact that the conservative leaning Wall Street Journal provided the platform for this Tulsi op-ed. Per Chait, you should be even more suspicious because she pals around with people like me and Saagar where she promoted: “Republican talking points discrediting the impeachment process.” Comments by the way which were picked up by literally every major network. Were they in on the plot as well? Hmmmm…. Then, Chait goes in for the kill. This is the big evidence to back up his claims that Tulsi is plotting a “spoiler campaign for Trump.” “Gabbard’s Journal op-ed today is the clearest sign yet,” he writes, “of her future course. There is no line in the piece committing Gabbard to running exclusively in the democratic primary. It doesn’t even mention the primary.” He then goes on to quote several passages from the op-ed which he claims are “ambiguous” in their intent asserting that they could “just as well be turned into an argument for Gabbard as a second “Democratic” candidate running against Trump, using a familiar Ralph Nader/Jill Stein case.” Apparently if Tulsi does not proclaim in every tweet, speech and op-ed that she’s not running third party then it’s proof positive that she absolutely is. 

Nowhere in the piece does he mention the many, many times that Gabbard has said under no circumstances will she run third party. Now, I didn’t go to J school, but I’m pretty sure there’s like this thing in journalism, where if you’re going to accuse someone of being a Russian asset or Republican asset or whatever, I think you are supposed to get a comment from them or at least include some part of their side of the story. 

Here, our own Max Greenwood can help you out with that Jonathan. After a great story about the complete pathological mania surrounding Tulsi in certain segments of the Democratic party, Greenwood includes Gabbard’s recent response when she was asked this question for the 1 billionth time. 

Look, I take Tulsi at her word that she won’t run 3rd party. She’s running for the Democratic nomination because she is a Democrat who happens to believe in changing the party from the inside. That, by the way, is how I view myself as well. You are far more likely to find success by essentially hijacking one of the existing political parties then you are starting one from scratch. See the DLC takeover of the Dems in the 90s, or the Tea party or Donald Trump. It’s the Bernie Sanders model where he explicitly embraces being an existential threat to the Democratic party as currently constituted. So look, I have no reason to doubt Tulsi on this.  

But let me also make something clear, if Tulsi or anyone else wants to run 3rd party because they are dissatisfied with the two major parties, it is their frickin right to do it! And it’s voters right to vote for whoever the hell they want to. It doesn’t make them a traitor. It doesn’t mean they love Trump. It doesn’t mean they’re stupid. It doesn’t make them a “spoiler.” And it also doesn’t mean that you get to use them as an excuse if ya lose, queen Hillary who can do no wrong, I’m looking at you.  

Can we just state this once and for frickin all, Hillary, you didn’t lose because of Jill Stein. First of all, it’s incredibly arrogant to think that all of the Stein votes would have gone to you. Plenty of those folks would have voted for Trump or another candidate or maybe stayed home all together. But more to the point, no one owes you their vote. You have to earn it. That’s the whole big idea with this whole democracy thing. It doesn’t say nor was it ever intended in our founding documents that you must pledge allegiance to one or the other party and that’s that. Maybe, and this is just a hypothesis, if you hadn’t sold out to Wall Street and sent us to war to bolster your hawkish political bona fides and run a truly terrible campaign, then people wouldn’t have gone looking to Jill Stein or Trump or whoever for an alternative. 

And by the way, this is all very self-serving and everyone is very selective with their memories. Evan McMullin was practically hailed as a hero for running third party in this past election. And it’s entirely possible that without Ross Perot, Bill Clinton would never have been president. Yet, somehow I don’t recall Hillary blasting Perot for running a 3rd party “spoiler” campaign. He had a right to run, what he said resonated with a large group of Americans, and both political parties should have learned something from it but they didn’t. In other words, suck less and fewer people will look to a third party.

Listen, I understand, people have strong feelings about Trump. I have strong feelings about Trump so I really do get it. People get very concerned about anyone doing anything that can be construed as possibly helpful to Trump. But all the efforts at thought-policing and relentlessly bullying of anyone not right on top of the Adam Schiff/MSNBC talking points just generally sucks, and is completely counterproductive. Think about this Chait article and HRC Russian asset comments with Tulsi as one specific example. Do you think that relentlessly accusing her of weird conspiracies and calling her a liar when she says she’s not running third party, do you think any of that makes Tulsi and her supporters feel more warmly towards the Democratic party? No. The natural human reaction is well screw you then. Why should I be a team player for you when you’ve shown me nothing but scorn and derision. That’s the kind of stuff that will make a person vote for Jill Stein or Donald Trump for that matter, just as their own private little f u protest. 

Just look at the polls, the weird obsession and freakout over Tulsi has massively helped her! Don’t know if you noticed but she’s now beating Kamala Harris in New Hampshire and in a new USA Today/ Suffolk national poll. It was looking like Tulsi might not make the November debate stage and now she is just one poll shy of November and only two polls shy of the much elevated December criteria. These fools who smear Tulsi are the best thing that could have ever happened for her! 

Guys here’s the thing, you may not like it and that’s fine, but Democrats are allowed to go on Fox News, they’re allowed to question the wisdom of impeaching Trump for conduct that is really only marginally worse than what’s typical, they’re allowed to critique the 2020 candidates, they’re even allowed to critique the stances and operations of the current Democratic party. None of that means they are part of some conspiracy with me and Tulsi and Susan Sarandon and Jill Stein, to throw the election to Trump. So in summation, stop being crazy! 

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