I consider myself a classical liberal, which in the U.S. is more strongly aligned with libertarians than with Liberals. I voted for the Libertarian candidate in the last two elections, after voting for Obama in 2008 and John Kerry in 2004 (those elections were before my conversion to being more libertarian leaning). That being said, I am prepared to vote Democratic again in this election as long as Tulsi Gabbard is the Democratic candidate. Here is why.
No matter how much I hate the Democratic candidate, I could never get myself to vote for Trump. Especially since I firmly believe that voting third party is a viable option: the only reason it is not viable is because not enough people think that it is, so if enough people think that it is, it will become viable; my believing it is viable means one more person is convinced that it is. Regardless, I will not vote for Trump. I think he is narcissistic and incompetent. As a person he is awful and as a president he is middling at best; his foreign policy is haphazard and demonstrates a complete lack of diplomatic understanding; his principle achievement, the tax cut, was not paid for by spending cuts (he cut in some places, but greatly increased defense spending) and did nothing to help anyone but the wealthy. The only reason anyone likes Trump is for purely symbolic reasons: he represents a wrench in the gears of ‘politics as usual’ and a way to stick it to coastal Liberal elites. There is little that is substantive about Trump, and those things that can be attributed to him are negative to some degree.
For these reasons and more I cannot get myself to vote for Trump. But that is not what this post is about. This post is about why I will vote Democrat in the general election if Tulsi Gabbard becomes their candidate.
The first reason is fairly pedestrian: she seems like a reasonable person. The fact that she is one of the few people running that takes the time to get interviewed by people who have audiences that may disagree with her (Joe Rogan, Dave Rubin, John Stossel, Glenn Greenwald, Tucker Carlson) makes it seem like she is willing to reach across the aisle, as the saying goes. I understand that part of it is because these are the people actually willing to give her a speaking platform, since the Liberal media is busy fawning over Warren and Biden. As a side note, it’s always been suspicious to me that the news media seems to come up with who will be the front runners before any voting even happens. I wonder why? But still, aside from Andrew Yang, Gabbard seems to be the only one who cares about having broad appeal rather than just playing to the base.
The second reason I like Gabbard is because of her focus on foreign policy realism. I am a foreign policy realist myself, so that’s obvious. But it’s also because the president has a lot of power when it comes to foreign policy and so that is why Gabbard’s emphasis on foreign policy issues is important. All the promises of free healthcare and free college and everything else from the other candidates is not something they have much control over and will most likely be steamrolled by congress in their efforts to achieve those things. But when it comes to foreign policy, a presidential candidates words are something that can actually become policy quite easily.
And just to address the issue with Tulsi Gabbard meeting with Syrian president Bashar al-Assad: that is something a president has to (or at least ought to) do anyway. Meeting with unsavory leaders in order to conduct diplomacy is one the president’s primary jobs, since they do not control what becomes law (congress does) and cannot actually give out all the free stuff they promise. Gabbard meeting with Assad was, in fact, a show of maturity and statesmanship on her part, not the scandal the Liberal media wants it to be.
A third reason I would vote for Tulsi Gabbard is because she said she would pardon Edward Snowden and stop persecuting, er, I mean, prosecuting Julian Assange. I don’t care one way or the other for Assange, but in my eyes, Snowden is a hero. But it’s more than just the fact that Gabbard would person Snowden and drop charges on Assange in particular, it’s the fact that it means, in general, that she recognizes the importance of what Snowden did and the illegality of the NSA spying program as well as the importance of the freedom of the press. It makes me think that Gabbard would be good on civil liberties issues (i.e. first and fourth amendment issues), which are extremely important issues to me.
The fourth reason I like Tulsi Gabbard is because she seems to have some idea of how budgeting works. Her talking point is that if we reduce defense spending significantly – and she actually has some idea of where the waste is, being that she is an Iraq War veteran – then we can use that money for domestic spending projects. Now, I don’t necessarily agree with all her domestic spending project proposals, but she at least knows that they have to be paid for somehow, rather than just taxing the future with more debt and inflation.
Like I said, I don’t agree with everything Tulsi Gabbard says, but I think she is the best candidate running on a major party. For the reasons stated above, I will vote for her if she ends up as the Democratic candidate, otherwise I will almost certainly vote Libertarian again. I seem to have a penchant for backing candidates that are a long shot at best, but that reflects more poorly on who the major parties put forward than it does on me, doesn’t it?