The Washington Post reports:
“Jane O’Meara Sanders, who campaigned alongside her husband Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) across the country last year, is launching the Sanders Institute to help progressive allies reach more people through events and traditional media.
“‘The purpose is to revitalize democracy in the support of progressive institutions,’ Jane Sanders said in an interview. ‘Our feeling is at our point in time, our country is at a crossroads, and people are engaged in a political process that can be opaque. A vital democracy requires an informed electorate, civil discourse, and bold thinking. So we put together this team to focus on issues, but not in a partisan way, not in a way that just focuses on the latest crazy thing. It will not be about Trump; it will be about the issues facing the country.’”
If revitalizing democracy is the purpose of the Sanders Institute, it is hard to understand why Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard is a Fellow given that she has refused to debate her general election opponents for three Congressional elections in a row and refused to debate her 2016 primary opponent (all while calling for the Democratic National Committee to have more Clinton-Sanders debates, no less!).
If the Sanders Institute’s purpose is to promote a progressive agenda, it is hard to understand why Gabbard is a Fellow given that:
- Gabbard voted with Republicans to make it virtually impossible for Syrian refugees to come to the U.S.
- Gabbard proposed legislation that would discriminate against Muslim refugees.
- Gabbard is not a member of the Progressive Caucus.
- Gabbard has voted against every Progressive Caucus budget.
- Gabbard supported a $12 an hour minimum wage (not $15) until very recently.
- Gabbard did not support single-payer until mid-May 2017.
- Gabbard gets most of her money from big donors.
- Gabbard makes common cause with mass-murdering dictator Bashar al-Assad that Bernie Sanders has denounced as a child-killer and a war criminal who has “got to go.”
- Gabbard often appeared on Fox News to attack President Obama from the right on terrorism and for not repeating right-wing catchphrases like “radical Islamic terrorism.”
- Gabbard supports the BJP in India, a right-wing neoliberal party that has attacked religious freedom for non-Hindus.
Anointing Tulsi Gabbard as a Sanders Institute Fellow sends a message to Muslims, Syrian refugees, and South Asian immigrants (Hindu, Muslim, and Christian alike) — constituencies who are under sustained attack by the Alt-Right and the GOP that are crucial to building a powerful progressive movement in the Trump era — ‘you’re not wanted, your concerns don’t matter, so piss off.’
Progressive politics according to Bernie Sanders is supposed to be about bringing people together and there is no Sanders supporter more divisive than Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard.