According to a report from CNN, long-shot Democratic presidential nominee Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-HI) is getting an unexpected bump in the polls in early primary state New Hampshire by drawing out Gabbard-curious supporters of Donald Trump.
As CNN’s Dan Merica reports, “Voters asking questions at Democratic presidential campaign events don’t often profess their love for Donald Trump or privately weigh whether to support a Democrat or the President in 2020. But most Democratic events are not like Tulsi Gabbard‘s town halls.”
While Gabbard has been floundering at the polls and recently announced she would not attend the next Democratic debate if she qualified, her support in New Hampshire has grown above her national polling average and some of that can be attributed to her “outsider” appeal that also drove voters to flock to the Republican president.
“Gabbard’s unique candidacy centered on New Hampshire, where she is actively reaching out to a broad coalition of devout liberals, dismayed independents and questioning Republicans,” Merica writes. “She regularly attacks both Democratic and Republican orthodoxy, particularly on foreign policy, and casts herself as someone who understands the system but wants to disrupt it, an argument that drew voters to Trump four years ago. The congresswoman decries the tenor of politics — ‘hyper partisan divisiveness getting in the way of progress,’ she said this week — and, when asked about impeaching Trump, Gabbard expressed skepticism.”
That has a certain appeal to both Republicans and independents who refused to vote for former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton in 2016.
“The audience at Gabbard’s town hall prove how successful the congresswoman has been in her outreach to more than just loyal Democrats,” the report states. ” Brandon Chamberlin, a health care executive who voted for Trump in 2016, said he is actively considering Gabbard but will ‘most likely’ vote for Trump again is Gabbard fails to win the Democratic nomination.”
According to Chamberlain, “She has a strong voice for the people,” before comparing it to Trumps’ 2016 appeal that he would “disrupt the status quo.”
Another New Hampshire voter admitted that he “reluctantly” voted for Trump in 2016 and –after three years– is looking for an alternative.
“I have been voting for President since 1996 and I very rarely find someone that I am voting for, I always feel like I am voting against somebody,” explained Chris Ward, a software engineer from Nashua. “In the last election, I didn’t know who to vote again. I didn’t like either of them. Tulsi is one of the first candidates that I have ever met that I support. … I have never felt that way before.”
“Polls show Gabbard with single-digit support in New Hampshire, but those same polls find that the congresswoman is garnering more support from independents and conservatives than Democrats and liberal voters. A Quinnipiac poll released in November found that among likely Democratic primary voters, Gabbard is the first choice for 10% of voters who self-identify as independent and 9% of those who self-identify as moderate or conservative,” the report states, while noting Gabbard has been staking her presidential campaign hopes on the state far away from her native Hawaii.
Gabbard has also drawn the support of fans of Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) who voted for Trump in the 2016 election, with one saying her attacks on Hillary Clinton caught his interest.
“I am not a fan of Hillary Clinton. I think she is a very corrupt individual,” stated Derek Larsson of Massachusetts who crossed the state line to attend a Gabbard rally. “I think the attack helped her to stay on message and by attacking Hillary Clinton, she is staying on message.”
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