Clinton has little to gain by making the claim that Gabbard is a Russian asset.
Long before the 2016 presidential election, people have hated Hillary Clinton. It’s hard to say where exactly it started, some people surely didn’t like her as a First Lady, and the whole Clinton family had its popularity plummet during the aftermath of Bill’s extramarital affair and impeachment proceedings. Yet, people seem to hate her far more than they hate Bill.
While I unfortunately do not have specific statistics, I don’t think it’s any secret that she’s competing to be the most frequent subject of conspiracy theories ever. Maybe that’s why when she came forward with her own conspiracy theory about Tulsi Gabbard, an incredible amount of people flew straight to the defense of Gabbard and started demonizing the former Secretary of State all over again. Even some candidates competing with Gabbard in the Democratic primary race, including Andrew Yang and Bernie Sanders, came to her defense, choosing the young Hawaii representative over the party’s last presidential nominee. Despite the knee-jerk reaction against Clinton by what could certainly appear to be the majority of people in both parties (the president also defended Gabbard), Clinton may unfortunately have a frighteningly good point.
For anyone who has watched a Democratic debate where Gabbard was present, it is clear that she has a platform that is the furthest outlier from the average amongst the contenders. She frequently discusses staunch anti-conflict positions that are criticized as being dangerous for both our allies and for countries where radical terrorism grows. She has also come under fire in the past for downplaying the threat of Russia and for appearing too kind to Syrian president Bashar al-Assad.
What might be even more disturbing about her presence on the debate stage is that she buys into some of the same problematic thinking for which the president is frequently targeted. In the most recent debate, before Clinton had made any statement concerning Russia, she went on a monologue about the mainstream media spreading lies and not being trustworthy.
To complicate the issue further, she went so far as to criticize the hosts of the event, CNN and The New York Times, for putting out articles describing her as a potential Russian asset. She also seems to buy into some baseless conspiracy theories, like the ones that influenced the 2016 election. After Clinton’s interview in which she criticized Gabbard was discovered, Gabbard tweeted at her, calling her the “embodiment of corruption.” She went on to say that since she started her campaign, “there has been a concerted campaign to destroy [her] reputation” and that it can be now be known that “it was always [Clinton], through [her] proxies and powerful allies in the corporate media and war machine.” Yikes.
Key takeaway? She does not fit nor does she identify with the Republican party, but she certainly does not blend well into the crowd of Democrat presidential hopefuls either; she is absolutely the perfect person for a third-party run right now. She even has pulled a little support from far-right Republicans, including but not limited to Steve Bannon, Richard Spencer, Ron Paul, Franklin Graham and Mike Cernovich, all of which are names worth the disturbing read of their respective Wikipedia pages. Perhaps the greatest part of the whole ordeal is that there is even a reasonable amount of evidence to suggest that Russia is in fact trying to support her. She is getting a noticeable amount of attention from Russian state media and has received Twitter assistance from bots, referring back to her first debate and her attacks on Kamala Harris, when the tag #KamalaHarrisDestroyed started trending. While the insinuation that Gabbard is an aware and willing participant in a Russian plan to undermine U.S. elections may be a bit far-fetched, her biggest supporters seem to be disconcerting to say the least.
While we clearly live in a world that is not eager to take advice from Hillary Clinton, it shouldn’t be too much to ask to at least consider what she says. After all, Clinton’s comments brought much needed attention to Russia’s favoritism towards Tulsi Gabbard, and while Gabbard seems to be the one being defended in the developing brawl between the two now, a little time and research into the matter may start to sway some opinions. As for the other subsequent theories on the matter that fear Clinton is gearing up to join the race late, there is nothing to be worried about. Her popularity among Democrats just isn’t strong enough for her to come from behind and beat the top contenders. Even if she does decide to join the race, a scenario that appears highly unlikely, she will absolutely not earn the Democratic nomination. She has nothing to gain from making comments like these, so why not listen to what she’s saying?