Tulsi Gabbard

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard Endorsement: Is This Bernie Sanders’ Vice Presidential Running Mate Pick?

A burning question is on a lot of folks’ minds: Should Bernie Sanders win the Democratic nomination for the 2016 elections, who would be his running mate for vice president? Here’s a possible hint: Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, who endorsed Senator Sanders on Sunday. The former vice chair of the DNC resigned and announced her support for the presidential hopeful, according to Minnesota’s Star Tribune. Arguably, a Bernie Sanders-Tulsi Gabbard ticket may be the secret sauce that turns the tables ahead of Super Tuesday.

During a segment of NBC’s Meet the Press, Congresswoman Gabbard broke the news about her endorsement of Bernie Sanders. According to the Washington Free Beacon, the decorated solider, an Iraqi War veteran, said her decision to support Sanders is based on her trust for him as a Commander-in-Chief. The Hawaii lawmaker believes he is best suited to be in the White House Situation Room during a military crisis abroad, or involving threats to the homeland.

“I think it’s most important for us as we look at our choices as to our next commander-in-chief will be is to recognize the necessity to have a commander-in-chief who has foresight, who exercises good judgment, who looks beyond the consequences, who looks at the consequences of the actions that they’re looking to take before they take those actions so that we don’t continue to find ourselves in these failures that have resulted in chaos in the Middle East and so much loss of life.”

According to rules of the Democratic National Committee, it remains neutral during elections and members must adhere to the same principles. Apparently, Gabbard felt strongly enough about Sanders that she relinquished her post to endorse the senator.

For those who know the 34-year-old Hawai’i native, she is a rising star among politicians. Tulsi took an interest in public welfare as a teen, according to her About Tulsi page. Then, she co-founded a charity that teaches youth about conservation and issues affecting the island’s environment.

In 2002, at only 21, Rep. Gabbard was elected to the Hawai’i State Legislature in 2002. She became the youngest person to ever hold that position. One year later, she joined the Army National Guard, and in 2004, she became the first state official to step down from her post and serve in an active military mission.

Sanders’ rumored running mate went on to serve two tours of duty in the Middle East. During her service, she received several distinguished honors and awards. Today, she is still active in her unit, where she holds the rank of Major.

In 2012, Gabbard was elected to the United States Congress as the first and only Hindu member and one of the first two women who’ve held combat roles in the military. She’s in her second term, and serves on the House Foreign Affairs and House Armed Services Committees.

Political pundits often say endorsements don’t weigh heavily into a candidate’s success, but every now and again, one has more than symbolic meaning. Two during this election cycle for both political parties are worthy of note.

On the Republican side, former presidential candidate New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump, the GOP frontrunner. Immediately, many weighed in on Christie as being Trump’s VP running mate. And with Tulsi Gabbard’s endorsement of Bernie Sanders, many suspect she is following suit.

Arguably, her choice as a running mate for vice president may serve the Vermont senator well. For one, she adds an element of youth to the election, and may continue to build on Sanders’ millennial coalition. Gabbard is considered a rock star in Hawaii. She is a veteran of the Armed Forces, has committee experience with foreign affairs, and is a strong voice for women.

It’s unclear how much of an impact her support for Sanders will have, or even if she is considering joining him on the campaign trail. However, Bernie can’t be counted out just yet, despite his own admission of being “clobbered” by Hillary Clinton in South Carolina over the weekend.

[Photo by Thos Robinson/Getty Images for Women’s Campaign Fund]

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