Dec 11, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard is the 2020 field's lightning rod

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

While Democratic provocateur Tulsi Gabbard doesn't get written about as much as top-tier candidates, data suggests she's the most provocative.

The big picture: Her war of words with Hillary Clinton in October and her appeal to viral, right-wing media have driven outsized interest in stories about her, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

By the numbers: Over the last three months, stories about Gabbard have averaged 858 interactions on social media (likes, comments, shares) — more than any other candidate.

  • The other leaders for interactions per story are the field's front-runners. Only Joe Biden (851) comes close, though many of the biggest articles about him are related to Trump, Ukraine and impeachment.

The backstory: Gabbard's friendly fire against Democrats has made for some of the most viral moments of the primary.

Between the lines: Her attacks on Democrats and the party have made her a favorite for right-wing media publications, many of which have supercharged social media audiences.

  • Of the 15 biggest stories about Gabbard over the last three months, 12 have come from right-leaning publishers.

The top five stories:

  1. Tulsi Gabbard calls Hillary Clinton the ‘embodiment of corruption’ — New York Post (291k interactions)
  2. Gabbard dares Clinton to run for president in 2020, fights back against assertions that she is a Russian asset — Fox News (109k)
  3. Gabbard to Clinton: You are 'queen of warmongers ... personification of the rot that has sickened' Democrats — CNS News (103k)
  4. Hillary Clinton suggests Russians are 'grooming' Tulsi Gabbard for third-party run — CNN (90k)
  5. Gabbard threatens to boycott Ohio debate, claims DNC is 'rigging' primaries — Fox News (85k)

Our 2020 attention tracker is based on data from NewsWhip exclusively provided to Axios as part of a project that will regularly update throughout the 2020 campaign.

See all past editions of the tracker here.

Expand chart
Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

Go deeper

Axios-NewsWhip 2020 attention tracker: Bloomberg finally upends the national conversation

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios — Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issues.

Stories about Michael Bloomberg last week generated 9.4 million interactions on social media — more than twice his previous high. Still, he's getting lapped by Bernie Sanders, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: This was the point when Bloomberg converted massive spending into significant organic interest in his campaign, but it may be no match for the Sanders grassroots army.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Feb 20, 2020 - Politics & Policy

Guns surpass immigration as biggest non-impeachment issue

Data: NewsWhip; Chart: Chris Canipe/Axios - Note: Hover over the weekly rank on desktop to see articles and interactions for each candidate and issue.

It has hardly registered while impeachment consumes the country, but gun control has passed immigration as the issue generating the next most interest online over the last four months, according to data from NewsWhip provided exclusively to Axios.

Why it matters: In a trend that could help shape the 2020 races, immigration — an issue that animates the right — is being usurped by a topic that animates the left.

Go deeperArrowDec 19, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard on impeachment vote: "I did not take the easy vote"

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard. Photo: Nicholas Kamm/AFP via Getty Images

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) said she did not "take the easy vote" when she broke with the majority of her party on Wednesday and voted "present" on two articles of impeachment against President Trump. She felt her vote "was in the best interest of our country," the congresswoman told NBC.

The big picture: Gabbard is the only 2020 presidential candidate who had a chance to vote on impeachment, and she has criticized the process as partisan, the New York Times reports. She favors a measure to censure Trump rather than impeaching him.

Go deeperArrowDec 21, 2019