As America is tempted to say, “And then there were two,” regarding the Democratic presidential hopefuls, they can’t quite do it yet. Yes, former Vice President Joe Biden and U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., remain the most viable candidates. But the thorn in the side of the Democratic establishment, U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard, D-Hawaii, also remains in the race.
Gabbard has vowed to continue her campaign until the Democratic National Convention later this year. Here are three key reasons why I think she is sticking around:
1. Keep Sanders and Biden Honest
Gabbard’s campaign tactics could best be described as the ‘wait it out’ strategy. She laid low through the earliest caucuses and primaries, and now that the field has narrowed, she can come out swinging and help keep the frontrunners honest. Ignoring critique from a challenger in a crowded field is easy; it is much harder to do when the field is small and you are being challenged by the last woman left in the race. Tulsi Gabbard now has a prime opportunity to hold Biden and Sanders’ feet to the fire, and I expect that we will see her taking full advantage of it.
2. Challenge The Democratic Establishment
Clearly, Tulsi Gabbard is not afraid to cause some trouble for the Democratic establishment. This became obvious when she sued Hillary Clinton, an establishment darling. She has often called out the pundits and the party elite when she thinks they are wrong. I think that committing to stay in the race through the national convention is just one more way she can create some anxiety within the establishment.
3. Have Platform For No-Holds-Barred Policy Critique
Gabbard is not running for reelection in Hawaii. She doesn’t need to be winsome or moderate in her critique of policy plans and political platforms. No, now she has a national stage for no-holds-barred policy critique. War and deployment of American troops are where we have seen this critique the most, and I don’t expect that to change.
Tulsi Gabbard is not going anywhere anytime soon. I suggest we all get used to including her when talking about Democratic presidential candidates because even though her thorny campaign’s road does not lead to the White House, it’ll certainly stir up a riot of entertaining trouble for fellow Democrats along the way.