Tulsi Gab­bard an­nounces White House run in 2020

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - TIMES GLOBAL -

Wash­ing­ton: Con­gress­woman Tulsi Gab­bard pipped Se­na­tor Ka­mala Har­ris in an­nounc­ing she will run for the White House in 2020 in what is ex­pected to be an ex­pan­sive Demo­cratic field of up to a dozen as­pi­rants who will com­pete for the party nom­i­na­tion to take on Repub­li­can in­cum­bent Don­ald Trump.

“I have de­cided to run and will be mak­ing a for­mal an­nounce­ment within the next week,” Gab­bard said in her in­ter­view on CNN’s Van Jones Show over the week­end. She will be the first Hindu-Amer­i­can to run for the White House, and should she win the party nom­i­na­tion and even­tu­ally emerge vic­to­ri­ous in the tor­tu­ous race to the White House — a long shot by most ac­counts — she could be­come the first non-Chris­tian, and in­deed first Hindu Pres­i­dent of the United States.

Gab­bard, 37, is the first sig­nif­i­cant can­di­date to plunge into a field that has two other prom­i­nent women cas­ing the ground. Cal­i­for­nia se­na­tor Ka­mala Har­ris, who is of In­dian-African-Amer­i­can her­itage, is weigh­ing a run with a mem­oir and trav­els in pri­mary ter­ri­tory. Also in the hunt is Mas­sachusetts se­na­tor El­iz­a­beth War­ren, who has been scout­ing the ground in Iowa, which typ­i­cally is the first state to hold pri­maries.

A dozen other as­pi­rants have ex­pressed in­ter­est in ru- nning — among them, for­mer New York mayor Michael Bloomberg, for­mer vice-pres­i­dent Joe Bi­den, Con­gress­man Beto O’Rourke and Eric Swal­well, Sen­a­tors Cory Booker, Sher­rod Brown, Kirsten Gil­li­brand, Amy Klobuchar, Bob Casey, and gov­er­nors Steve Bul­lock and Terry McAuliffe.

A fourth-term law­maker from Hawaii, Gab­bard, along with newer first-time Rep­re­sen­ta­tives such as Alexan­dria Oca­sio-Cor­tex and Rashiada Tlaib, is among the new set of Demo­crat in­sur­gents who are chal­leng­ing the tra­di­tion power struc­ture in the Party with their rad­i­cal leftist ap­proach. Gab­bard, who served in the US mil­i­tary her­self and is an Iraq War vet­eran, stunned her party and the Wash­ing­ton es­tab­lish­ment in 2017 when she made an in­de­pen­dent trip to Syria and met the coun­try’s leader Bashar al-As­sad, who the US re­gards as a sworn en­emy.

“There are a lot of rea­sons for me to make this de­ci­sion. There are a lot of chal­lenges that are fac­ing the Amer­i­can peo­ple that I’m con­cerned about and that I want to help solve,” she said about her White House bid. “There is one main is­sue that is cen­tral to the rest, and that is the is­sue of war and peace.”

Her views are al­ready at­tract­ing an army of trolls on so­cial me­dia who re­gard her as an out­lier. “As­sad’s favourite Demo­crat is Run­ning for Pres­i­dent”, read a head­line in a far-right pub­li­ca­tion. Such at­tacks have never both­ered the Hawaii rep­re­sen­ta­tive who hasn’t been afraid to take on her own party es­tab­lish­ment – in­clud­ing for­mer Pres­i­dent Obama and Hil­lary Clin­ton.

Born in Amer­i­can Samoa in 1981 to Carol and Mike Gab­bard, she is the fourth of five chil­dren, all brought up in the Brahma Mad­hwa Gaudiya Sam­pra­daya that her mother em­braced fol­low­ing her in­tro­duc­tion to the Kr­ishna move­ment. She named her five chil­dren Bhakti, Jai, Aryan, Tulsi, and Vrin­da­van.

Full re­port on www.toi.in

REUTERS

Tulsi Gab­bard, the first Hindu elected to the US Congress, said she will for­mally an­nounce her can­di­dacy within the next week

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