Twenty candidates will participate in the first Democratic primary debates on Wednesday and Thursday. But outside the top contenders, most candidates are complete mysteries. BTRtoday takes a brief look at the Unknown Dems of the 2020 primary.
Tulsi Gabbard, 38, U.S. Representative (HI-2)
Gabbard would be one of the more interesting candidates even if the primary field wasn’t filled with mostly anonymous white men. She was elected to the Hawaii House of Representatives at just 21 years old, now serves as the first Samoan and Hindu member of Congress and currently holds the rank of Major in the U.S. Army. But Gabbard broadly opposes U.S. military intervention in other countries, most notably Syria, where she’s consistently opposed regime change. Foreign policy is where she differentiates herself most from other candidates.
Gabbard’s had her fair share of controversies, lobbying against LGBT rights in the mid-2000s. She was also accused of being a Russian plant when she launched her 2020 campaign. But her repeated battles with Democratic Party officials are what’s earned her the “radical” label. In 2016, she resigned as DNC Vice Chair to endorse Bernie Sanders and openly advocated for the elimination of superdelegates. Gabbard champions mostly progressive policies, including Medicare for All, free college and bringing back Glass-Stegall to regulate commercial banks.