Maybe her Democratic critics are right. Maybe her presidential campaign really is an audition for a Fox News show.
I kid. And when I say it sounds like she’s opposed to impeachment here, I use that term advisedly. The process will be “terribly divisive,” she says, which is true — but she doesn’t flatly commit to voting no. It would be in both her short-term and long-term interest as a Democrat to support impeachment, however reluctantly. “Long-term” in the sense that Gabbard is young, making a national name for herself, and might conceivably be a formidable presidential contender down the road — unless she alienates her party’s base forever by siding with Trump in the war to come.
“Short-term” in the sense that there’s news today about the 2020 campaign. Because she notched two percent in the latest Monmouth poll of New Hampshire, Gabbard has qualified for the next Democratic debate.
It is not yet clear whether the debate will take place over two nights, but Ms. Gabbard’s inclusion adds to that possibility. The June and July debates featured 20 candidates evenly split over two-night events; after the D.N.C. tightened its qualification requirements for the fall, the debate this month was held with 10 candidates on a single evening…
The Monmouth poll released Tuesday showed Ms. Warren and Mr. Biden atop the Democratic field in New Hampshire: Ms. Warren had 27 support, and Mr. Biden had 25 percent. Mr. Sanders finished third with 12 percent, followed by Mr. Buttigieg with 10 percent. Ms. Harris finished fifth with 3 percent support.
Congrats to her on making the cut but she’ll be in an excruciating position if she’s onstage in mid-October as the lone Democratic candidate standing who opposes impeachment at a moment when her party is in a frenzy to do it. The moderators are sure to press her about it too; even if they don’t, her pal Kamala Harris will bring it up to exact revenge for Gabbard’s withering attack on Harris’s record as AG at the second debate. What will Gabbard say in response? You can imagine how the criticism of her will be framed: “The reason impeachment is ‘terribly divisive’ is because Donald Trump, not our party, has consistently placed his own interests over the interests of the country. What do you propose to do to stop him from leaning on foreign leaders to investigate his political opponents over the next 16 months short of joining us in trying to remove him?”
Speaking of Harris and Gabbard, here’s the rest of that Monmouth poll that secured Gabbard’s place in next month’s debate. Hoo boy:
Remember after the second debate when Harris sneered that she was “top tier” and therefore didn’t need to worry about attacks from a no-chancer like Gabbard? They’re now separated by a point in national polling in a key early state.
I’m done parsing Gabbard’s political pronouncements for strategic angles, by the way. I don’t think she has a strategy; I think she’s just speaking her mind and letting the chips fall where they may. That’ll be good for her future as a political pundit, not so good for her future as a Democratic politician.