New poll shows Assad-backing Tulsi Gabbard's popularity waning with Hawaii Democrats
From Daily KOS, June 8, 2017 (excerpt)
HI-02: Very interesting. A major reason—probably the major reason—that Hawaii Democrats have been reluctant to float any kind of primary challenge to Rep. Tulsi Gabbard so far is the fact that she's long been very popular. That may now be changing. According to a new poll for Honolulu Civil Beat conducted by Merriman River Group, Gabbard's statewide favorability rating dropped from 64-19 two years ago to 50-29 today. Gabbard fares better in her home district, but she's still taken a bit of a hit there, too, falling from 67-17 to 58-25.
What matters most, though, is where Gabbard's support is—and isn't—coming from. Statewide, Gabbard earns positive marks from just 49 percent of Democrats, which is low given that we're talking about members of Gabbard's own party, while she gets a thumbs up from 48 percent of Republicans, a shockingly high score … ordinarily, at least. To put this in context, Hawaii's other member of the House, Democrat Colleen Hanabusa, has a similar 48-27 statewide favorability rating, but with 65 percent of Democrats viewing her positively and just 24 percent of Republicans doing so. That's a much more conventional split.
But Gabbard is anything but conventional. She's received tremendous scorn for cozying up to murderous Syrian dictator Bashar al-Assad, and until Donald Trump launched a few missiles Assad's way, she'd refused to publicly criticize the Great Orange Terror. In fact, she was one of the only Democrats to meet with him (at Trump Tower, of course) right after the election.
Gabbard's recent dalliances with autocrats didn't spring from nowhere, though: She's long put together a bizarre crypto-conservative record that includes refusing to support an assault weapons ban, introducing a bill to ban online gambling at the behest of casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, and attacking Barack Obama for not using the phrase "radical Islamic terrorism." (Obviously the problem of terrorism has gotten much better since Trump started repeating these magic words, right?)
It's the Assad business, though, that's really incensed Democrats, both nationally and locally, particularly after Gabbard declared she was "skeptical" that Assad had used chemical weapons on his citizens in April, simply refusing to believe reports from the Pentagon and independent non-governmental organizations like Human Rights Watch. Someone this far out in nonsense land has no business representing a dark blue district that can and should elect a strong progressive—and has in the very recent past.
And while no prominent Democrat has yet to openly consider a bid against Gabbard, perhaps this latest poll data will start to change some minds. Hawaii unfortunately has open primaries, so GOP voters could cross over to support the woman the Washington Post accurately dubbed "the Democrat that Republicans love." But it would be quite the spectacle if Gabbard had to rely on Republicans to save her. And in this age of white-hot furor over Trump, is that something Gabbard really wants to count on?
KOS: How Chris Butler Cult will Defend its Tulsi