Performing an Autopsy on Tulsi Gabbard’s Campaign

I do not claim that Gabbard would have won the nomination. I am mainly dumbfounded at the lack of subtlety of the persecution against her.

I suspect foul play.

The 2016 election cycle made me sick of politics.

I sounded like Dr. Seuss’s Grinch afterward— “All the noise, noise, noise, NOISE!” Yet, here we are again. Like the Grinch who could not stop Christmas, we are finding out that, in spite of our best efforts to shut everything down, the election is coming.

The Democratic presidential nominee is…Joe Biden. (I know, we were rooting for the DNC to pull a Pilot Pete move and breakup with Joe to get back with someone else that we all liked better anyway.) Bring out the popcorn and painkillers—here come the presidential debates.

Then COVID-19 brought our nation to a grinding halt. Warranted obsession with the pandemic captivated our outstandingly-short attention spans.

In all the chaos, we overlooked an untimely political demise. The strange case of Tulsi Gabbard’s presidential ambitions warrants a long-overdue autopsy. Peculiar circumstances surrounded her campaign from start to finish.

A down-and-dirty dissection reveals the three most probable causes of death for her candidacy.

1. Inexperience and low name-recognition.

Gabbard sought the Democratic nomination from January 2019 to March 2020. Her inexperience in conducting presidential campaigns showed. In an early fiasco, her campaign manager learned from a reporter that Gabbard was running for president… after Gabbard announced her candidacy on television.

Gabbard struggled to muster support at the polls. She finished behind Warren, Bloomberg, Buttigieg, and Klobuchar in the delegate count, despite dropping out after them. She ended her campaign polling at just 1% in the Georgia Democratic Primary.

I am not a political consultant, but even I know that “Who?” is not the response candidates want from voters. A Quinnipiac poll found that 64% of those surveyed “‘[hadn’t] heard enough’ about Gabbard to form a positive or negative opinion.” Compare that number with the mere 9% of respondents who said they knew little about Sander’s stances.

Recently, I messaged a left-leaning friend of mine. I asked for her opinion about Gabbard, and she replied, “[I’m going to] be honest[.] I have no idea who that is.” My educated, generally politically engaged friend—a typical Democratic voter—had no clue that Gabbard ever ran for president.

Ironic that in a political market saturated with information, Gabbard’s campaign suffered from an unexplainable inability to get information into the hands of voters. Not ironic. Suspicious. Which brings me to…

2. Lack of attention.

Only Biden and Sanders campaigned longer than Gabbard. She remained the last candidate of color and the last female candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, though you would not have known this from the press coverage.

In January, an editorial published in USA Today bemoaned a then-upcoming, all-white Democratic debate, explaining that Andrew Yang failed to qualify and (incorrectly) referring to him as “the remaining minority.” The piece acknowledged Gabbard’s existence exactly zero times. This seems either a case of astronomical ignorance or malicious omission. I am not sure which is worse.

Elsewhere, an article from the Washington Post remarked on Bloomberg and Warren in the context of Super Tuesday and then enthusiastically droned, “Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) is also competing.” Such generous impartiality overwhelms me.

And then there was the time that Google mysteriously closed Gabbard’s advertising account for six hours. This debacle, which led to a lawsuit, occurred on the days of the first two Democratic debates. For reference, Gabbard briefly surged to the position of the most-searched-for candidate on Google after the first debate, meaning that her campaign faced a time-sensitive advertising opportunity.

Overall, Gabbard received disproportionately less total news coverage and disproportionately more negative news coverage. I will also note that I do not recall reading a single news alert on my phone when Gabbard dropped out of the race.

The bizarre and collective cold-shoulder given to Gabbard by the media prompted her to state in February that voters “really haven’t had a chance to hear my message… because there’s been an almost total corporate media blackout since the day that I started running for president.” I find it hard to disagree with her.

Unfortunately for Gabbard, media sources were not the only ones who wanted her un-invited to Thanksgiving dinner…

3. Towed by the party line.

The only group who liked Tulsi Gabbard less than left-leaning media sources was the Democratic Party. Do not expect to see Gabbard on this year’s Christmas card.

Gabbard’s past record demonstrates her willingness to go to fisticuffs with her party. Gabbard clashed with Democrats during the Obama administration, siding with Republicans on a matter of Middle Eastern foreign policy. During the 2016 presidential race, she resigned from her position as vice-chair of the Democratic National Convention (DNC) and endorsed Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.

The DNC exacted revenge. The primary debates became a nightmare for Gabbard.

In order to qualify for the September debate, candidates had to poll at 2% or higher in at least four separate, approved polls. Gabbard exceeded 2% support in 26 polls. Only two of those polls appeared on the DNC’s approved list.

The DNC altered its qualifying rules for the March debate, arguing, “The threshold will reflect where we are in the race…” By this point, only Gabbard, Sanders, and Biden still sought the nomination. Miraculously, the new rules managed to exclude just Gabbard.

On the day of the debate, Gabbard tweeted that 49% of voters wanted her to participate and posted a clip from an interview… with Fox News. A poignant statement on Gabbard’s homelessness in the Democratic Party.

Four days later, Gabbard suspended her presidential campaign.

The results of the autopsy are conclusive: Death by a thousand cuts. Tulsi Gabbard got a raw deal. Why?

From one perspective, she represented a complex candidate in a system built for the binary. She leaned left on social and economic issues but leaned right on foreign policy matters. She campaigned on ending regime change wars and fighting terrorism—important, but unfashionable issues. Her fan base included deeply conservative voters. A Republican friend of mine said, “I [can’t] help but like her.” Gabbard was relatable.

From a more cynical perspective, as the same friend argued, she would have wiped the floor with Biden and Sanders. Her competency and reasonability would have made her opponents look insane. She did not have the votes, and the debates would have been nothing but bad optics for the two gentlemen.

I do not claim that Gabbard would have won the nomination. I am mainly dumbfounded at the lack of subtlety of the persecution against her.

Gabbard’s issue resided in the fact that she was not the darling of the Democratic Party. Her candidacy was a Cinderella story, but without the ball or the gown because the DNC fairy godmother did not stop by.

For Gabbard, the race was not about a glass ceiling. It was about glass slippers that did not fit.

Beto Significantly Sweatier, More Generic

Presidential hopeful Robert Francis O’Rourke, colloquially known as ‘Beto’, unveiled a new campaign strategy that he hopes will achieve greater sweatiness and vagueness.

“I say ‘real Americans’ a lot,” said the drenched O’Rourke. “And anytime somebody brings up a political issue, I just mention my son, Ulysses. Isn’t he cute?”

O’Rourke’s campaign personnel cited an experience from a recent town hall as an example for the success of their new strategy. When concerned local citizen Denise Johnson asked a question about taxes, O’Rourke wiped his forehead and started playing the electric guitar. “It’s about time we had an honest presidential candidate,” Johnson said appreciatively.

According to analyst Nathaniel Bronze, O’Rourke’s presidential bid is at least 67% sweatier and 71% more generic than his failed senate run. “We’re seeing the greatest sheer volume of sweat in a presidential candidate since we started taking record in the 1860s,” Bronze said. “It’s astonishing. They’re calling him ‘Sweaty Betty.’ And his genericness is really off the charts.”

The plan is not without its setbacks. According to campaign volunteer Seamus Cavanaugh,, O’Rourke’s sweat has led to certain technological problems. “He kept shorting out the microphones with his moisture, so we had to start waterproofing them,” Cavanaugh said. “At first we tried taping napkins around the handle, but he just soaked right through them. He’s remarkably sweaty–makes me remember why I got into politics.”

Kelly McAwley has a full-time internship placing ‘Wet Floor’ signs for O’Rourke’s campaign. “It was his idea to get the signs that say ‘Piso Mojado.’ He’s so inclusive,” McAwley beamed. “He really hooked me with his plan to make a better America for all Americans, in America. For Americans. I just hadn’t heard that before from another presidential candidate.”

The Darsch Report: Jan. 7 – 13

Tarrant County GOP

In Tarrant County on Jan. 10th, county GOP officials overwhelmingly voted against a motion to oust Vice-Chairman Shahid Shafi because he is a Muslim. Precinct chairs voted 139-49 in favor of the trauma surgeon and Southlake City Council member.

After the vote, Shafi told members of the press, “As an immigrant to this great country, I am honored and privileged to receive the support of my fellow Republicans. We need to learn to trust each other so we can create a more perfect union every day.”

Those in favor of removing Shafi from office argued that he cannot represent all Tarrant County Republicans because of his religion. Some also stated that they supported the initiative because Islamic ideologies run counter to the American constitution.

The vote drew national attention as well as condemnation from some of the state’s top Republicans, including Gov. Greg Abbott, Land Commissioner George P. Bush, and Republican Party of Texas Chairman James Dickey. Dickey went on the day after the vote, “We look forward to working with all Republicans to fight for lower taxes, quality education, and to continue our booming economy through Republican leadership.”

Conservatives should applaud the 139 County Party members in Tarrant County who voted against such a bigoted act against a fellow conservative. In these times, Republicans need to unite over a common sense of values and beliefs and not try to divide each other over things that shouldn’t matter like race, creed or religion.

Ohio HQ Moving to SA

Investment management company Victory Capital Holdings Inc. is also moving its corporate headquarters from Cleveland to San Antonio and adding with it 50 jobs on top of the 300 they acquired from their November acquisition of an arm of USAA.

According to the company, the city, and the San Antonio Economic Development Foundation (SAEDF), the 50-plus new jobs will average a base salary of $96,000. Because of the HQ move, the company’s CEO David Brown, as well as five other senior executives, will be moving to the San Antonio area.

However, the city incentivized the move with tax dollars. As San Antonio Express-News reports, “San Antonio and Bexar County officials have agreed to give Victory Capital $750,000 in tax incentives for the move. The city projects a $945 million economic effect and $460,000 in tax revenue from the headquarters over the next decade.” On top of this, Brown cites the area’s 160,000 college students, population growth particularly among millennials, low cost of living and information technology presence as what sealed the deal.

Although it may be a gamble, this may also be good news for the city of San Antonio and Texas in general as it continues to expand not only its job growth but growth in information technology as well. Perhaps this move will be another step toward having a tech area in the US that can rival Silicon Valley.

The US Economy

It was a good week for US stocks, with multiple gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones increased to 23,995.95 on Friday, increasing by +522.79 points, or +2.18 percent over its Jan 4th close of 23,433.16. The S&P 500 increased by +64.32 points or +2.48 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq had an increase on Friday by +3.34 percent.

The US economy is also looking really good. The GDPNow forecast from the Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta expects the US economy to have grown around 2.8 percent in the fourth quarter of 2018. If this holds true then the US will have exceeded 3 percent annual growth for the first time since 2005 with a growth rate of 3.15 percent.

With this strong showing from the US economy, we also expect a good performance in 2019. It would be unsurprising if 2019 GDP growth exceeds the expected 2.4 percent, especially if Trump is able to negotiate a new trade deal with China to end the trade war.

2020 Mania has Begun

It is only the second week of January but already there are many heavy contenders for the 2020 Democratic presidential primary. Julian Castro, former San Antonio mayor and US Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) secretary, and Tulsi Gabbard, Hawaiian representative, have officially declared that they are running for president. Meanwhile, California Senator Kamala Harris will make an official announcement of her decision on Jan 19th and New York Senator Kirsten Gillibrand has taken some steps that suggest a presidential run.

If Harris, Gillibrand and Warren all decide to officially run, the three will bring the total number of declared Democratic candidates to eleven. Along with these eleven, there are an additional twenty-nine speculative candidates who have made no official announcements, from well-known politicians like Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders, and Beto O’Rourke to not so well-known like Eric Garcetti, Tim Ryan, and Howard Schultz.

In the two most recent polls conducted by Public Policy Polling and the Morning Consult, the results don’t look that good for any of these candidates. In the PPP survey of 750 people in North Carolina, they asked participants if they would vote for Trump or a democratic candidate. The results were as follows: Biden 49-44, Booker 45-46, Harris 45-45, Beto 45-46, Sanders 48-45, Warren 46-46. In the Morning Consult poll of 1989 registered voters, they polled who people would vote for in the 2020 Democratic primary. Biden polled with 17 percent, Warren 3 percent, Sanders 12 percent, Beto 4 percent, and Harris 1 percent; the other candidates mentioned weren’t listed.

It is much too early to tell what will happen over the next year and a half but for now, it will be very interesting to see how polls shift in the coming months.

Government Shutdown

As of Sunday, January 13th, the US Federal government has entered its 23rd day of a partial shutdown, the longest ever. On Friday, January 11th, some 800,000 government employees missed their first paycheck, of whom:

  • 380,000 are furloughed
  • 420,000 are still working without pay, according to CBS News

Some have blamed the shutdown on the unwillingness of congressional Democrats to find a compromise on Trump’s demand of $5 billion for a border wall. Top Republican lawmakers have criticized Democratic leadership for not putting any counter-offers on the table.

Sen. Lindsey Graham, an ardent supporter of Trump’s efforts to build a wall, criticized Democrats who have condemned Trump’s proposed wall but previously voted in favor of other bills, such as the Secure Fence Act of 2006, that build barriers on the border. “It really does perplex me how you expect this to end when you tell the president of the United States, ‘you get one dollar for a wall’ when in the past Democrats have appropriated billions for the wall,” Graham said.

According to GovTrack, 59 percent of Senate Democrats (including Hillary Clinton and Chuck Schumer) voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, which allowed fencing to be built along much of the US-Mexico border. In the House, however, only 31 percent of Democrats voted for the bill. Rep. Nancy Pelosi voted against it.

We are currently in the longest government shutdown in US history. This is not the time for Congressmen to devolve into useless bickering. Trump is going to find some way—any way—to get the wall built and it is in the Democrats’ best interest to negotiate. Perhaps a DACA for Wall deal, as was suggested in late 2017, could be a possible solution.

UT-YCT Doxxing

This week a doxxing group at the University of Texas released names, photos, emails and numbers of over 30 students who have attended Young Conservative of Texas (YCT) meeting and lectures held by conservative speakers. Saurabh Sharma, 21, leads the UT chapter of YCT and is the statewide chairman of the organization. Many of Sharma’s cabinet members have been doxxed and he says the fallout has been immense.

“It hasn’t impacted all our members… but it has discouraged many from staying involved,” Sharma told PJ Media on Monday. Many of the students were doxxed for simply liking conservative pages on Facebook.

Unfortunately, the doxxing blog will not be taken down any time soon because the hosting server is a well-known ‘anti-fascist’ server. Hopefully the students responsible will be found and those affected will be able to return back to a normal life.

The Darsch Report: Dec. 31 – Jan. 6

Editor’s Note: The Darsch Report is a weekly news summary from Nathan Darsch, news editor. It will now begin to focus more on Texas-related news, but will still update on the economy and foreign headlines when appropriate. 

Hello and welcome to the first installment of the weekly Darsch Report for The Tower, this article will be providing some of the news for the week of Dec. 31st – Jan. 6th.

The US Economy

It was a standard week for US stocks this week with multiple gains in the stock market. The Dow Jones increased to 23,433.16 on Friday, increasing by +370.76 points over its Dec. 28th close of 23,062.40. The S&P 500 increased by +46.20 points, or +1.86 percent on Friday. In addition, the Nasdaq had an increase on Friday by +2.34 percent.

These figures are indicative of a great turn in the economy as a whole, and this change is also reflective in the latest jobs report. In December, the US economy added 312,000 non-farm payrollscompared to the expected number of 176,000. Wages have also increased by 3.2 percent compared to last year and the unemployment rate increased to 3.9 percent, with over 400,000 new workers entering the labor force and pushing the participation rate to 63.1 percent. This news comes just after the Atlanta FED GDPNow estimate dropped to 2.6 percent for the last quarter of 2018.

If December is anything to go off of, the US economy as a whole is and will continue to be great in 2019. However, I would advise everyone to be careful with stock investments as the market is very volatile at the moment.

Houston Shooting

On Sunday, Jan. 6th, police made an arrest related to the murder of seven-year-old Jazmine Barnes. Eric Black Jr., 20, admitted to being involved in the shooting that took place on Dec. 30th and says that the initial reports of the shooter were mistaken identity.

The death of Jazmine has been riled up by activists as a racially motivated incident with writer Shaun King even offering a $60,000 reward “for the person who turns in the murderer”. In court on Sunday, Black, who is African-American, admitted he was driving a Kia SUV when a passenger identified as “Larry” fired on a car driven by Jazmine’s mother, LaPorsha Washington. Harris County Sheriff Ed Gonzalez declined to confirm whether the alleged shooter was in custody, but he said it was likely charges would be filed against a second suspect.

My prayers go out to the Barnes family and anyone else affected by the shooting. Jazmine cannot be brought back but hopefully, the family can find justice for the murder of their child.

San Antonio Kidnapping

In San Antonio, 8-month-old King Jay Davila was abducted Friday night from a corner store parking lot near 351 Enrique Barrera Parkway. The father had left the car running and the doors unlocked as he went into a Friends Food Mart when the incident occurred. A large-scale investigation is currently underway by the San Antonio Police Department and San Antonio Fire Department in the area surrounding Rodriguez Park for any clues as to the whereabouts of the child after a baby bottle was found near the Leon Creek Trail.

The family has also began lambasting the San Antonio police for their claims that the family is being uncooperative and accusing the father of knowing the woman who took the baby. Jasmine Gonzalez, the mother, stated that “The police is saying a whole bunch of bull**** … They need to stop (expletive) putting some blame on someone that’s innocent and worry about finding my baby, that’s what they need to do”. As of Sunday night, the case still remains under heavy investigation.

My prayers go out to the family of this child and I pray for her safe return to her mother. If anyone has any information that may prove useful to the San Antonio Police Department then please send in a tip.

Yellow Vest Protests

This week marks the eighth week of the Gilets Jaunes, “Yellow Vests”, protest in France against the actions of the Macron administration and the rising cost of living. During this week, French authorities arrested and later released a key activist in the movement, Eric Drouet, for organizing a protest without declaring it prior. A protest the group says was a candlelight ceremony for those injured in the previous six weeks of protest across France. This prompted both the left and right in the movement to condemn the action as an “abuse of power”.

On Saturday, a march of 50,000 people took place through across France. There was abundant protesting in the streets, as well as burned trash bins and motorcycles, clashes between riot police and protestors, and a forklift which broke open the doors of the French Ministry for the Economy and Finance, which forced government officials to vacate the building.

I applaud the Gilets Jaunes for not only organizing one of the largest protests in recent French history but also being able to put up these protests for so long. If I had one recommendation for them it would be to try to keep rioting, looting, violence, etc. to a minimum as these actions can backfire on them and turn support against them and destroy the property that they use on a regular basis.

A Senator Goes Stumping

As New Years rolled around and people celebrated the beginning of 2019, Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts announced that she was forming an exploratory committee to run for president in 2020. To many, this came as little to no surprise as the senator has been teasing a run for president to oust President Trump since the beginning of 2018.

Change Research’s most recent polling, Dec. 13-17, shows that Warren has around 7 percent of the vote both nationally and about 7 percent of the vote in the state of Iowa. However, their New Hampshire polling from Jan 2-3 shows that Warren is polling around 11 percent. Compare that to newcomer Beto O’Rouke, who is tied with Joe Biden nationally at 21 percent and polled 19 percent and 9 percent in Iowa and New Hampshire respectively. In all three polls, she is beaten by at least two other potential nominees.

She made her debut on Sunday in Iowa with five campaign stops across the state, including two locations in Des Moines. In her various stumps, the issues of getting Trump out of office, working families and the American middle class were brought up multiple times.

Personally, I do not believe that Elizabeth Warren will be the eventual Democratic nominee and, even if she is, I do not believe that she will be able to beat Trump in the general election seeing as how she may have trouble winning back Rust Belt voters that went to Trump in 2016.