Gabbard Confirms Attendance at Third Democratic Debate after Threatening Boycott

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum in Des Moines, Iowa, August 10, 2019. (Gage Skidmore)

Long-shot presidential candidate Tulsi Gabbard (D., Hawaii), confirmed her participation in Tuesday’s Democratic debate on Twitter Monday, after threatening last week to boycott the event entirely over concern that “the DNC and corporate media are rigging the election again.”

Gabbard, who is currently polling at 0.7 percent nationally, addressed supporters Thursday and accused the Democratic National Committee and corporate media partners of attempting “to usurp your role as voters in choosing who our Democratic nominee will be.”

Gabbard also clashed with the DNC in the buildup to September’s debate, after falling two polls short of the pre-approved public support threshold. Gabbard and her campaign argued that the standards were arbitrary, and suggested the “lack of transparency” pointed to an overarching problem of prioritizing the preferences of political elites over those of ordinary voters.

Gabbard managed to hit both the donor and poll criteria for Tuesday’s debate, making her the 12th Democratic candidate to qualify.

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While a majority of the candidates have participated in the recent town halls on gun violence and LGBT issues in Las Vegas and Los Angeles, respectively, Gabbard has remained on the campaign trail in Iowa and New Hampshire. During an interview with Hill.TV on Friday, she said her decision was being made “very carefully,”

“I’m listening to a lot of the feedback that we’re getting from supporters and just thinking through all of the ramifications of this decision,” Gabbard said. “What it really comes down to is how best to make an impact to bring about this change.”

After a New York Times weekend profile highlighted alleged links between Gabbard and the alt-right, the Hawaii congresswoman took to Twitter to illustrate her critique of the system.

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