A new story from What Next | Daily News and Analysis
Her and then when the opportunities presented to not to take it. Can you talk about how Tulsi Gabbard campaign is running a little bit differently than other people in the race. Yes so it's very small and it's a lot of members of her family are very involved. Her husband is the videography geography for her sister is really running the operation. Many of the people employed by the campaign have ties to her religion. A local Hawaiian in paper didn't investigation. Where they went to the how they tracked down? The House of one of her top paid consultants and he was living in Alaska. And sort of this remote. Oh place and wouldn't come to the door and it was sort of unusual for political consultant. So it's a very small operation really run by people who are very very loyal to a congresswoman Gabbard and a lot and a fair number of those people. It's also a bit of a family operation. I can see how that's comfortable but I could also see how that means your worldview W. stays rather compact. Yeah I I mean I have heard from people inside the campaign that there are questions about whether she's hearing criticism awesome and whether there are folks there to tell her. Perhaps this isn't working or that isn't working in that. You Know is a perpetual problem in presidential campaigns that nobody really wants to tell their boss the boss. They're doing something wrong. But that is the difference between candidates who take off and candidates who end up. Making mistakes is is the ability me too correct for and understand those missteps now. Gabbard candidacy is at this turning point with polls consistently putting her campaign in the single digits. She seems to be lashing out even harder at her own party last month. She threatened not to show up at the Democratic presidential debate. Seeing the system had been rigged a few weeks later she called out. Hillary Clinton saying she was the queen of warmongers. Although you could argue that Hillary Clinton Lynton started that fight. Can you tell the story of exactly what she said. Because I think there was actually some confusion about that at first okay so Hillary Clinton has been Out in public a little bit lately because she's promoting a new book that she wrote with her daughter Chelsea and is part of that push. She was interviewed by David. PLOUFFE who of course was Barack Obama's campaign hayne manager in two thousand eight On a On a podcast and at one. Point Puffins Hillary. Clinton start discussing possible strategies that trump and the republicans skins would use In the election. And she says you know that first Republicans will demonize the Democratic candidate and then she said Republicans lukens and this is where things got a controversial Republicans would encourage a third party candidate so that voters disenchanted with the president. You know on the Democrats could have another option. I'm not making any predictions. But I think they've got their eye and somebody WHO's currently in the Democratic primary and our grooming her to beat the a third party candidate she's a favorite of the Russians. They have a bunch of sites and bots and other ways of supporting our so far and Dan herself later said that she was referring to Tulsi Gabbard ner comments so basically what Hillary Clinton was arguing although she was not using zing Tulsi Gabbard name. was that the Russian Russian propaganda machine the kind of Internet trolls and operators that were meddling around in the two thousand sixteen election would come out and back Tulsi Gabbard and really. She was saying they already are out. And backing Tulsi Gabbard hurt and that could cost a Democrats vote In the same kind of way that impacted her race is there any truth to that that the boats are out there. You know pushing Tulsi Tulsi Gabbard message. So honestly it's really hard to know because the platforms have gotten much better at sort of taking out the most obvious botts by operations rations. So it's hard to know whether that's happening We do know there has been some analysis of Russian state television outlets like rt or sputnik and they do tend to cover Tulsi Gabbard more than they would. They cover other candidates at her level. You know the two four percent level in the race but does that mean. They're backing her. I Dunno it's hard to know but I think what's interesting in this is that Tulsi Gabbard jumped on Hillary Clinton's claims James and in fact. She was the one who said that Hillary Clinton claimed that she was being quote her words groomed by the Russian government to undermine America so Tulsi League average campaign saw this really useful talking point for them not only because it her attention widespread media attention but also helped her make the argument that it wasn't that her message didn't have appeal with voters. It was that she was somehow being hurt by the the Democratic Party forces. Let me tell you what this is about. This is about Hillary Clinton sending a very strong message saying that because I am and have long been calling for an end to our country's foreign policy of aging one regime change war after the next the likes of which we've seen in Iraq in Libya and ongoing in Syria. And because because I'm calling for an end to this new cold war nuclear arms race that I am a Russian asset that I am a traitor to the nation that I love and not only so extremely extremely online that any attention is good attention. Just keep stoking it. Yeah and look some people who have had interactions with the campaign say that it is part of their philosophy that all attention is good attention. And that's how they view it so whether that attention comes from Tulsi Gabbard or comes from Hillary Clinton attacking her. That's that's great and look there plenty of people in the Democratic Party who are really Do not like Hillary Clinton so this gave her an opportunity to really take some punches at this. He's very well known very famous. Still controversial figure in the party at the end of October Gabbard announced she would not be running for re election to Congress in twenty twenty money choosing instead to focus all of her attention on this long shot presidential bid this decision it just intensified all the questions about what Gabbard up to and whether she might stay in the presidential race even if she loses her party's nomination whenever she's been asked you said absolutely not. She's not running as a third third party candidate. But that has not done anything to tamper the speculation and I think you know all this is also wrapped up into this intense sort of Ptsd Democrats mccray have from the last election. Democratic Party strategist establishment types politicians and voters are so traumatized really it by their loss In sixteen that they see everything I think through that Lens. And there's this deep rooted fear that someone will emerge Jill Stein. Ah like figure in a tight race will cost them the election and I think when Democrats look on that stage they see Tulsi Gabbard as the candidate most likely to fill that role even though she has said again and again that she has no plans to do that. What do you think she's thinking about next steps could be in the event? She's she's not the presidential nominee. She hasn't said anything but generally politicians don't say when I become President I'm going to do x Y and Z right. Everybody is going to be he president until they're not But of course in reality that's not what people are doing their behind the scenes sort of plotting out their next moves and I have no idea whether Tulsi Gabbard is doing. Ah She hasn't said at all what she might do. Should she fail to win the nomination. which is what it looks like now? At least and so unless something in the contest changes radically. But there's there's certainly a lot of speculation. I've heard all kinds of theories. One of course is that should President trump win reelection that she would go into the trump administration and that's towns. Perhaps at its face really confusing because She's a course running for the Democratic Party nomination But what people who sort of speculate on Mat Su they point out that she met. She was one of really very very few if any Democrats who met with President trump when he was president elect that and her sort of support. From folks and trump's circle has led some Democrats to speculate whether she would go into the administration. Should he win a second term I'm curious what you think. Tulsi candidacy says about politics right now about about what she's saying about how the political world works. Well I think it's a couple of things I think we're in a period where parties are on the decline where the two mainstream parties don't all have the same level of control That they had anymore and they're sort of an ironic twist this is. I think Tulsi Gabbard is sort of creating doing this narrative of this rig system of the smoke filled room when reality her very existence her very presence on that stage shows that there is no more smoke filled room. That's gone that really Anyone who can get attention on line and build up a little money from viral moment can run for president and possibly have a place on that stage and we see that in both parties. Of course you know you look at Donald Trump and you see that same phenomenon. He certainly was not the pick of the Republican Party establishment. That much is pretty clear so I think her presence on the stage even as she spends all this time attacking the establishment it really shows how very weak parties and party establishments are in America. Right now Lisa Lehrer. Thank you so much for joining me. Thanks thanks for having me. Lisa Lehrer is a political reporter at the New York Times. She writes the newsletter on politics. And that's the show what what next is produced by Mary. Wilson Jason Leone Daniel Hewitt and Mara Silvers. One more thing to tell you about before I get off the air here. If you live in New York a bunch of the smart women at slate are going to be doing a live show and a debate watch party hoof. I'm exhausted just thinking about it but I would love to see you there. We're going to be talking a bit. Then we're going to watch the democratic debate or even considering Bingo cards there's definitely going.