Hawaii Congresswoman Tulsi Gabbard, the sole remaining woman in the Democratic presidential primaries, has been accused of “fascism” and pressured to drop out of the race after she shared a post about hatred of Hindus in the US.
“Unfortunately, Hinduphobia is very real,” Gabbard tweeted on Thursday, saying she experienced it directly both in her congressional and presidential campaigns. “Sadly, our political leaders [and] media not only tolerate it, but foment it,” she added.
By way of example, she retweeted someone quoting a Facebook post about a confrontation with an Uber driver accusing Indians of murdering Muslims during the recent unrest in New Delhi.
Reactions to Gabbard’s post quickly proved her point, as critics swooped on the Hindu-American congresswoman to accuse her of “fascism” over her alleged support for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ideology of Hindutva, or Indian nationalism.
“She is a fascist and needs to drop out,” argued Molly Crabapple, a self-described Bernie Sanders supporter.
Rutgers professor Audrey Truschke chimed in as well, saying that Gabbard being Hindu is not the issue, but her “being a Hindu nationalist is horrifying and disqualifying,” and that she has “yet to comment on the Hindu nationalist pogrom in Delhi last week that left more than 45 people dead.”
Not to be outdone, BuzzFeed editor Tom Gara went searching on the timeline of the person Gabbard quoted and found that “she shared something saying Bernie’s campaign has been infiltrated by Islamists,” apparently holding the congresswoman responsible for everything else the person she quoted has ever said.
Gabbard’s defenders were quick to point out how the vitriolic reaction to her calling out anti-Hindu speech and behavior is effectively proving her point.
Demanding that Gabbard speak on behalf of every Hindu and issue a statement every time there is sectarian violence in India “looks petty,” argued journalist Lee Fang, calling it “ridiculous” and comparing it to asking Jewish lawmakers condemn Israeli violence or Muslims to apologize for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) terrorist group.
Fang also pointed out that the current Democrat front-runner Joe Biden has also “embraced and praised” Modi.
“Weird how there’s virtually no condemnation of Biden & Modi and so much intense vitriol at a congresswoman from a marginalized background,” he tweeted.
Journalist Michael Tracey, who has covered Gabbard’s presidential campaign extensively, called the claims that she is funded or backed by Modi “just false,” adding that American Twitter pundits only bring up India when it’s time to bash Gabbard.
“We’re supposed to believe they have a deep understanding of Indian politics when they’re oblivious about the politics of South Carolina,” he argued.
Gabbard is the only female Democrat running for the 2020 presidential nomination, after Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) dropped out on Thursday, but one would not know that she exists at all from mainstream media reporting. Even the DNC has effectively erased her from existence by keeping her off the debate stage – while altering the rules to allow billionaire Michael Bloomberg, for example – ever since she torpedoed the candidacy of Kamala Harris in August 2019.
She was also described as “the favorite of the Russians” by the failed 2016 candidate Hillary Clinton, prompting Gabbard to sue Clinton for defamation.