Is Gabbard a Progressive?
In May 2017, progressive publications like Jacobin raised issues about Gabbard's views on Islam and support for far-right leaders. South Asian activists also began publicizing Tulsi Gabbard's non-progressive stances and actions with the hashtag: #TulsiGottaGo in an effort to remove her from the schedule of Our Revolution's People's Summit.
On June 2, 2017 "Rising Up With Sonali" interviewed Thenmozhi Soundararajan, a Dalit-American transmedia artist and activist and Executive Director of the South Asian Technology Collective Equality Labs, who raised questions about Gabbard's progressive label and described the #TulsiGottaGo campaign.
Soundarajan explained concerns about Gabbard's close relationship with India's Prime Minister Modi, her Islamaphobia, as well as Gabbard's support of the Hindu American Foundation (HAF) efforts regarding California school system curricula.
The fact that Gabbard inserted herself into a battle in California about school textbooks that impacts how minorities in India are portrayed is particularly interesting considering that Gabbard represents an extremely multicultural state and one of the most progressive districts in the country.
Excerpts from the May 2016 Salon article by Eesha Pandit, There’s a new battle raging in California over history textbooks. Here’s what you need to know:
"This is an exercise in controlling history. The winners are, in this case, upper-caste Hindus who want a sterling, Hindu-centric depiction of their country."
"Valliammal Kaneeran of the Ambedkar Association of California told the Indian Express that: 'It is outrageous that the teaching of Untouchability does not include the term Dalit. Would we teach the history of slavery and use an epithet to refer black folks? Erasing Dalit erases our dignity and tradition of struggle.' ”
By June 9th, 2017, Gabbard -- who had been publicized as a panelist --was no longer on Bernie Sanders' Our Revolution's People's Summit schedule.
A month later, however, Our Revolution featured Tulsi Gabbard in videos about their People's Platform, though she was not a co-sponsor of most of the Platform bills.
In the summer of 2017, Our Revolution asked House Democrats to co-sponsor eight bills that were part of a #PeoplesPlatform.
Furthermore, in spite of her vocal support of Bernie Sanders starting in 2016, speaking at the People's Summit that same year, and then being featured in the People's Platform in the summer of 2017, Gabbard did not join the Progressive Caucus until the fall of 2017. She never announced her new membership, but her name suddenly appeared on the Progressive Caucus website sometime between September and November 2017.
Not surprisingly, Gabbard voted against the Progressive Caucus' Budgets in 2014 and 2015. (The Progressive Budget did not come up for a floor vote in 2016.) She finally voted for the Progressive Budget in October 2017, most likely after joining the Caucus.
Trans Pacific Partnership
Since 2015, Tulsi Gabbard has clearly voiced her opposition to the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP), with a lengthy statement and videos on her votetulsi campaign website.
She does not, however, mention joining Republicans in efforts to lobby Asian leaders regarding the TPP in April 2014.
Though Gabbard announced that she was part of a "bipartisan delegation to meet with key leaders in Japan, South Korea, and China" on her Congressional website on April 17, 2014, stating that, "meetings will focus on economic growth and trade, regional security challenges, and strengthening our alliances in the region," she did not specifically mention the TPP.
However, according to then-Rep. Eric Cantor, who was House Majority Leader at the time and led the delegation,
“Our investment in Asia’s future is an investment in our own prosperity. I look forward to a productive dialogue with Japanese, Korean and Chinese leaders about the importance of free trade and free markets, as well as our shared interests in promoting stability in the region and confronting North Korean provocations.”
And in photos that Tulsi Gabbard posted on flickr, she noted that the TPP was one of the subjects under discussion.
It's worth noting that besides Representatives Cantor and Gabbard, the delegation included Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI), Cybersecurity Subcommittee Chairman Pat Meehan (R-PA), Armed Services Committee Vice Chairman Mac Thornberry (R-TX), State and Foreign Operations Subcommittee Chairwoman Kay Granger (R-TX), Representative Kristi Noem (R-SD), Representative Aaron Schock (R-IL), and Representative Paul Cook (R-CA).
Gabbard was the only Democrat.
Furthermore, the trip was taken a week before President Obama's scheduled four-nation tour through Japan, South Korea, Malaysia and the Philippines. Since both trips had a similar mission, the intent of the mostly GOP delegation appeared to be to undermine Obama.