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Op-Ed: Reagan Was Once a Democrat - Could Democrat Tulsi Gabbard Be the Next Reagan?

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With Trump 2024 continuing to be the stuff of virtual water cooler talk and social media trends, a remarkably viable Republican candidate has already emerged.

The problem is that she’s a Democrat.

The American electorate made it very clear last month what they want.

With 74 million votes, Donald Trump is, by far, the presidential candidate who has amassed the most votes in a losing presidential campaign.

As the weeks pass and the November election begins to appear in our collective rear-view mirror, what is becoming increasingly clear is that the Republican Party was able to amass this huge number of votes in spite of President Trump rather than because of him.

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Tulsi Gabbard’s massive failure in 2020 was her political MBA.

Tulsi Gabbard has served as a member of the U.S. House of Representatives from Hawaii’s 2nd Congressional District since 2013. Born in American Samoa and raised in Hawaii, Gabbard dropped out of the 2020 presidential race on March 19, 2020. She had already withdrawn from her congressional re-election race during her presidential campaign.

While some pundits describe her 2020 campaign as time in the school of hard knocks, a more astute observation is that it was her political MBA. Already a seasoned member of Congress, Gabbard displayed her resilience on the rocky campaign trail — and also showed what a poor fit she was for the current incarnation of the Democratic Party.

While Gabbard’s run for the Democratic nomination didn’t go far, a success story few know about was the work of Maakola Atelier, a Ghana-based clothing design business run by a designer and entrepreneur from Venice.

Would you vote for Tulsi Gabbard for president?

They designed a unique outfit for Gabbard, a compelling story that works because Gabbard herself is such a unique presidential candidate.

The voters have done the GOP a massive favor by crystallizing their thesis:

Give us someone we can elect as president in 2024 who will support and extend many of President Trump’s policies but who is infinitely more electable than Trump himself.

Enter Tulsi Gabbard, “Democrat.”

Gabbard defines what the ideal progressive Republican will look like in 2024.

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This week she introduced a bill to apply Title IX protections based only on biological sex. The “Protect Women’s Sports Act of 2020″ would prevent biological males from participating in women’s sports at institutions that receive federal funding.

While the vast majority of Democratic voters would have serious issues with the bill and the political implications arising from it, this is exactly the type of legislation that will resonate with the GOP base and position Gabbard as an experienced yet visionary legislator who can get the job done.

Gabbard is tempting for the GOP power base because she is everything that Donald Trump has never been.

She is a patriot. It’s an oft-overused term, but Gabbard has embraced military service. In 2019, she became the first female combat veteran to run for president.

She is polished. While still learning, her failed 2020 run continues to round off some of the rough edges that turned off many Democrats, yet she has retained enough of her sharpness to appeal to the GOP base as a real straight shooter.

She is a true political outsider who has already served in Congress. While it seems odd to paint someone who has served in the House of Representatives for seven years as an outsider, she is. It’s a potent mix of being a woman and a combat veteran, being raised in Hawaii and being seen by even her detractors as a trailblazer of sorts.

If anyone can run and win on truly draining the Washington swamp — including taking power from many of the slimiest creatures of the Republican Party itself — it could very well be Tulsi Gabbard.

Gabbard would not be the first presidential candidate to cross party lines. The United States has a rich history of party switchers.

They include Theodore Roosevelt, Ronald Reagan and Hillary Clinton.

Roosevelt served nearly two full presidential terms as a Republican. Yet after disagreements with William Howard Taft, his successor, Roosevelt left the 1912 Republican convention and formed his own party. He lost his bid for a third term in office, and later returned to the GOP.

Reagan was also originally a Democrat and a union leader while in Hollywood. He switched parties officially in 1962, leaving a quote for the ages: “I didn’t leave the Democratic Party. The party left me.”

In 1964, Hillary Rodham Clinton was one of the Goldwater Girls who campaigned for the Arizona Republican. She became a Democrat following the 1968 GOP convention.

Gabbard’s intangibles make her the most interesting candidate on the GOP horizon.

To a growing number of political observers, Tulsi Gabbard is endlessly fascinating.

Her greatest supporters acknowledge that she is a gem who simply couldn’t be made to fit into the Democratic presidential mold. Her detractors are often more silent than they would be with other candidates because they haven’t been able to figure her out.

Given that the GOP has been sorely lacking in mystery and nuance for decades, Gabbard presents the party with a young and dynamic leader — something that the GOP so desperately needs where its leadership appears sclerotic on a good day.

What could 2024 look like?

With only weeks left in her tenure in Congress, Tulsi Gabbard has the next four years ahead of her to mount what has the potential to become the most formidable presidential run by any woman in American history.

With the right focus and powerful supporters backing her, Gabbard could be poised for success in 2024.

The views expressed in this opinion article are those of their author and are not necessarily either shared or endorsed by the owners of this website. If you are interested in contributing an Op-Ed to The Western Journal, you can learn about our submission guidelines and process here.

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Aron Solomon, JD, is the head of strategy for Esquire Digital and the editor of Today’s Esquire. He has taught entrepreneurship at McGill University and the University of Pennsylvania and was the founder of LegalX, the world’s first legal technology accelerator. Aron’s work has been featured in TechCrunch, Fortune, the Independent, The Boston Globe, The Hill and many other leading publications around the world.




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