Thursday, June 27, 2019


Tulsi Gabbard's numbers in Democratic presidential polls are very low, but trolls made her the winner in unscientific online polling after last night's debate:
Users from pro-Trump communities on 4chan and Reddit implored fellow members to vote for lower-polling candidates in online polls, specifically Tulsi Gabbard and Bill de Blasio, in the hours after Wednesday’s Democratic debate....

Users on 4chan’s anonymous far-right /pol/message board repeatedly posted links to polls across the web, encouraging one another to “blow the polls out” for Gabbard....

The posts pointed users toward polls on national news websites like the Drudge Report, The Washington Examiner, and, but also polls from local news providers like, which posts from several newspapers in the state.
Simultaneously, certain right-wingers seem to be expressing genuine admiration for Gabbard:
More than any other Democratic candidate, Gabbard has developed a favorable presence in the right-wing media. She’s made appearances from time to time on Fox News shows like Tucker Carlson Tonight, and her unorthodox candidacy has attracted praise from those farther to the right as well....

Breitbart News devoted a lot of its debate coverage to Gabbard, writing several articles about her. Breitbart writer Joel Pollak livestreamed his exchange with Gabbard in the spin room after the debate, the only candidate who got that treatment....

She’s been on Trump world’s radar for years. Former Breitbart News chair and Trump official Steve Bannon reportedly brokered a meeting between Gabbard and then-president elect Donald Trump after the 2016 election, and recent leaked documents showed that the Trump transition team had vetted her for an administration position.

Mike Cernovich, the “new right” social media personality, tweeted Wednesday night about the increase in Google searches for Gabbard, writing, “Tulsi Gabbard was breakthrough star of the night.”
And as NBC noted back in February, Gabbard has fans overseas, too, especially in one country in particular:
An NBC News analysis of the main English-language news sites employed by Russia in its 2016 election meddling shows Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii ... has become a favorite of the sites Moscow used when it interfered in 2016....

Since Gabbard announced her intention to run on Jan. 11, there have been at least 20 Gabbard stories on three major Moscow-based English-language websites affiliated with or supportive of the Russian government: RT, the Russian-owned TV outlet; Sputnik News, a radio outlet; and Russia Insider, a blog that experts say closely follows the Kremlin line....

The coverage devoted to Gabbard, both in news and commentary, exceeds that afforded to any of the declared or rumored Democratic candidates despite Gabbard's lack of voter recognition.
But what's the plan here? Gabbard's more controversial views (e.g., her support for the Assad regime in Syria) are rejected by the vast majority of Democrats, but she's not doing a very good job of trolling the race, if that's what she's in it for. Mostly she's just being ignored. After this flurry of stories about her specious poll wins, she'll probably go right back to being ignored again.

Are Coulter, Breitbart, Cernovich, and others trying to persuade her that there'd be support for her if she ran third-party? Are they trying to create a sense that she's exciting and newsworthy, in the hope that she'll do that and pull anti-Trump votes away from the Democrats?

If so, I seriously question the strategy. I've been angry at Ralph Nader's voters since 2000, and at Jill Stein's since 2016, but I've started to believe that the too-cool-for-the-Democrats bloc is fixed in size -- obviously some of these people will stay in the fold if Bernie Sanders wins the nomination, but many of them simply won't, and there's no persuading them. They don't need a particularly exciting candidate in order to reject the Democrats -- they're just itching to do that, and they'll pick anyone who's on the ballot in order to feel that delicious sense of purist superiority. Or if there's no one on the ballot to their liking, they'll just write in Bernie, or Donald Duck, or themselves.

So if this is a right-wing/Russian ratfuck, I don't see it accomplishing very much. Hey, trolls, go for it. Waste your time trying to make Tulsi Gabbard a thing.

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