The word ‘asset’ is back in the news as Americans prepare with a certain foreboding for the 2020 presidential election.
Hillary Clinton intimated a Democratic presidential candidate was being groomed by the Russians to run as a third-party candidate last week on David Plouffe’s podcast. It’s a thinly-veiled shot at Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard who Democrats and several columnists have theorized is somehow connected to the Kremlin because of favorable stories written by Russia-based news organizations. A 2017 meeting between Gabbard and Syrian President Bashar al-Assad is also part of the notion along with Gabbard’s status as more of an anti-war candidate.
Gabbard’s response was nothing short of amazing by challenging Clinton to run for the Democratic presidential nomination instead of pussyfooting around in the shadows. She also knocked the long failure by the Democratic Party to present any sort of foreign policy different from Republicans. MSNBC had the gall to suggest Gabbard’s takedown of Clinton should be ignored because she never bothered denying any sort of connection to Russia. As if that sort of harebrained proposition deserves any sort of response outside of mockery.
The entire Gabbard-Clinton feud elicited a rather substantive response from Michigan Congressman Justin Amash concerning the 2016 election.
Hillary does—and did—drive many people into the arms of Donald Trump. Her attack on Tulsi does likewise. In my district, Trump did worse than any Republican in modern times and still beat Clinton by a fair margin. Many Ds in the Midwest rejected her. I didn’t vote for either one.
— Justin Amash (@justinamash) October 19, 2019
Amash’s explanation is simple: Clinton lost 2016 not because of Russian interference but because she was a horrible, completely unlikeable candidate. It’s a truth Clinton and her minions seem unable and unwilling to accept. Any time Clinton and her ilk rail against Russian interference or suggest President Donald Trump wasn’t legitimately elected simply plays into his hands and does nothing to bring in former Trump voters who may be on the fence for 2020. She is a Trump asset, whether she means to be one or not.
The best advice for Clinton and her allies is to stop suggesting any sort of divergence from the typical party line on foreign policy automatically means Russian influence. It’s more than likely Russian-owned stations see Gabbard as friendly because she’s not willing to commit U.S. troops to every potential global conflict. This reduces the chance of war with Russia, China, and Iran and potentially saves American lives. A goal worth pursuing.
It is rather odd for Clinton to go after Gabbard because her stance on foreign policy appears to be the only thing that differentiates herself from the rest of the Democratic field. After all, Gabbard is in favor of massive government intervention in the private sector whether it be on guns or the economy. She supports Medicare for all, increasing the minimum wage, and breaking up big banks. These are not exactly smaller, weaker government solutions.
Clinton’s attack on Gabbard may have backfired. The Associated Press reported she’s gotten more attention in Iowa from Democrats since the comments on Plouffe’s podcast. It doesn’t mean she’ll shoot to the top of the poll rankings or suddenly start bringing in more endorsements since she’s fighting for the same votes Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren want. It might be a different story in a different election cycle, however, with fewer candidates and more philosophical differences between them. It’s doubtful this will be a repeat of 1972 where George McGovern won the Democratic primary.
There is one question to consider. Let’s say Gabbard suddenly sees an increase in support and outpaces candidates like Cory Booker, Kamala Harris, and Beto O’Rourke. Would this make Clinton a Gabbard asset? One has to wonder in this wacky 2020 campaign cycle.