Why Tulsi Gabbard Is Right for an America-First GOP

The political realignment spurred by President Donald Trump’s rise as the undeniable leader of the Republican Party is only just beginning, and it may result in the emergence of a surprising superstar: former U.S. Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii. 

Gabbard first gained national attention as a supporter of Senator Bernie Sanders, (I-Vt.) who refused to participate in a corrupt DNC process that disenfranchised the far-left presidential candidate. Her stand made her a reviled figure among establishment Democrats, who hated her even more when she refused to buy into anti-Russia hysteria and opposed U.S. bombing campaigns in Syria. Her refreshing candor has resulted in an unexpected cult following on the pro-Trump Right. 

While Gabbard’s economic policies vary considerably from the Republican orthodoxy, she brings a much-needed breath of fresh air on civil liberties and American foreign intervention. These are issues that appeal to young people, who are the prime demographic for the meat grinder of war and who often find themselves punished by the state for nonviolently enjoying their lives. Gabbard is an asset whose point of view should not be rejected out of hand in Trump’s GOP. Making the Republican Party into a true MAGA coalition will require the building of bridges and the rejection of failed approaches tried in the past.

Repairing Shattered Credibility 

Gabbard is a politician that the Republican Party needs to rebuild its shattered credibility among the masses. She has built a brand as a maverick who will say what she believes is right on the issues, no matter the political consequences. 

Gabbard would also alienate all of the worst actors still festering within the Republican Party. The annoying free marketeers, who gave the cold shoulder to Trump for his economic nationalism, would naturally be up in arms over Gabbard’s lack of reverence for the sacred deity of gross domestic product. The remnants of the neoconservative war party, including former South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley and Representative Liz Cheney of Wyoming, would be the most triggered, and their anguish alone would be worth letting the Gabbardites into the fold. 

Her entrance into the party would introduce some common sense into the fold. For instance, compare and contrast a Gabbard Republican to the Republicans of old. A George W. Bush Republican would support lower taxes for the wealthy, paying lip service to some scribblings made by economist Milton Friedman in the 1960s, while increasing corporate subsidies and defense spending to grease the palms of his corporate buddies. A Tulsi Gabbard Republican, in theory at least, would support more taxation and social spending but would end the corporate dominance of the markets and hamstring the military-industrial complex. This makes far more sense to anyone outside of the stifling bubble of Conservatism, Inc. 

Gabbard’s full acceptance in the MAGA coalition would force the America Last forces within the GOP to expose themselves, as her coherent articulation of a noninterventionist foreign policy would put the neocons on the defense. While the neocons can easily plant a John Bolton or an H. R. McMaster into the Trump nexus (with horrible consequences for his America First agenda), this would never happen with Gabbard as she is unflappable on her core issues. She is emerging as a figure not seen since former Representative Ron Paul (R-Texas) gained a quixotic following traversing chasms and divides that others could not. 

The tremendous void of courage, decency, and morality in the GOP has created the ability for unorthodox coalitions and strange new leaders. It is time to exploit these exciting circumstances to the fullest by fostering a strain of Tulsi Gabbard Republicanism.

Sharpening Her Rhetoric 

Of course, for this to work, Gabbard would need to tailor her rhetoric to appeal to Republicans. There are indications she is already doing this, as evidenced by her appearances on Fox News since leaving congressional office. She appeared on the network to defend individuals who appeared at the controversial protest in Washington D.C. on January 6, calling out irresponsible Democratic propaganda meant to bring the War on Terror into the homeland. She has also slammed “cancel culture” for creating the type of repression pushed by groups like ISIS and al-Qaeda. Gabbard is positioning herself to lead moderates and independents turned off by the excesses of the modern Left. 

Before she left Congress, Gabbard’s defiant final act put focus on the absurd dogma of the social justice warriors. She introduced legislation that would keep biological men out of women’s sports, an issue that is radioactively unpopular with average voters. She also introduced a bill that would protect babies who survived the gruesome abortion procedure. Horror stories have emerged in recent years of babies surviving abortions and then being mangled alive for their organs to be trafficked in the medical industry. Gabbard’s awareness of these issues already beats many Republicans who only pay occasional lip service to them on the campaign trail. At the very least, it shows Gabbard has compassion that transcends the petty partisanship plaguing our civic life. 

Recent news items under the Biden regime demonstrate the nature of the current political crackup and how it benefits Gabbard. Pentagon attacks on Fox News host Tucker Carlson, for having the gall to suggest that pregnant women should not be placed on the frontlines in combat zones, have been bizarre and surreal. Following that up with the National Guard mobbing Representative Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) at her own office, and we see an emerging trend of military personnel being used as cheap props to promote wokeism for the Democrats. With no end in sight to the war on Afghanistan and the U.S. not being able to claim a decisive war victory in nearly 80 years, this is more evidence that America is a non-serious country in serious decline. 

With her sterling record of military service, Gabbard could gain traction as a Republican leader who will actually stand with the troops while maintaining the credibility to command their respect. While Trump certainly had the respect of the rank-and-file military, his avoidance of the Vietnam military draft and his trashing of individuals such as deceased former Senator John McCain left Trump vulnerable on the issue of defense. Gabbard is unassailable in this regard, having been proven correct repeatedly despite the objections of so-called intelligence and national security experts. Gabbard has even shown the likes of Hillary Clinton and Kamala Harris what a formidable foe she can be during public spats with Democratic leaders. 

Republicans who pine for the great debate between capitalism and socialism, under the notion that Gen Z and Millennials are just one PragerU video away from seeing the light, are effectively dooming the conservative cause despite their best efforts. The capitalism versus socialism debate has already concluded and socialism won, not because of ignorance or propaganda but because of the abject failure of conservatism. Republicans blew whatever credibility they may have had with young people by supporting bank bailouts, corporate subsidies, trade deals facilitating the outsourcing of jobs, forever wars, and countless other terrible policies. The youth are tuning out conservatism and embracing socialism out of misguided self-interest. 

Now, those of us in the Republican Party who are forward-thinking have to pick up the pieces and clean up the damage that has already been done. It is accomplished by taking the Republican Party in a populist, nationalist, America First direction. This is achieved not just by giving dedicated, principled, activists control over the party, permanently displacing the lobbyist-approved milquetoast class of Romney/Ryan losers, but also by forming non-traditional coalitions to build a populist Left-Right alliance that will devastate the status quo, making it wholly untenable. Gabbard could be the linchpin in creating a formidable lasting coalition if Republicans can muster the courage to leave the reservation, as they did in voting for Trump as president in 2016, and manifest national greatness.

About Gavin Wax

Gavin Wax is the 75th President of the New York Young Republican Club, Chairman of the New York Republican Liberty Caucus, an Ambassador for Turning Point USA, and an Associate Fellow at the London Center for Policy Research. You can follow him on Twitter at @GavinWax.

Photo: (Photo by Scott Eisen/Getty Images)

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