Oct 22, 2019

Tulsi Gabbard is getting a boost from conservatives online

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Data: Storyful; Note: Mentions from Facebook do not include Oct. 12-14; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard has received the biggest surge of all 2020 Democratic contenders in social media mentions by percentage increase between Oct. 8 and Oct. 15 according to social intelligence company Storyful.

Why it matters: It's another example of a 2020 Democrat experiencing a boost online thanks in part to fringe voices on the right. Earlier this year, Axios reported on ways far-right voices were helping to elevate Andrew Yang. 

  • The increase can be attributed to Gabbard's accusations that the Democratic Party had rigged the elections, which gained a lot of attention on the far-right, and her threat to boycott the last debate.

By the numbers: Gabbard went from receiving 162,500 mentions across many social platforms measured by Storyful (Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Reddit, Gab, 4Chan) in the first week of October to over 338,000 between Oct. 8 and 15. 

  • Comments by Gabbard condemning members of her own party have garnered her lots of attention from far-right figures, which explains some of the increased attention she is receiving on platforms like Reddit, 4chan and Gab. 
  • For example, here's an example of a chain started about it on the pro-Trump Reddit Channel "r/DrainTheSwamp."

Between the lines: "We are seeing commentary pushing the idea of a Yang/Gabbard ticket, especially on 4chan," says Storyful senior journalist Catherine Sanz, who pulled the data.

  • Gabbard has gained traction among prominent Yang Gang fan pages, per Sanz.
  • Caroline Orr, a research analyst and reporter, noted via Twitter yesterday that Tulsi-related hashtags "are getting boosted by YangGang, which is made up of a lot of MAGA fans."

Go deeper: The fringe right's obsession with Andrew Yang

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Tulsi Gabbard won't seek re-election to Congress in 2020

Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) announced early Friday that she will not seek re-election to Congress in 2020 in order to focus on her presidential campaign.

"I'm fully committed to my offer to serve you, the people of Hawaii & America, as your President & Commander-in-Chief. So I will not be seeking reelection to Congress in 2020. I humbly ask for your support for my candidacy for President of the United States."
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Why it matters: Discussions on Reddit, as well as fringe-right sites 4chan and Gab, discuss whether Bloomberg's well-financed entrance into the race will upend President Trump's second bid for The White House.

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Trump makes Clinton probe threat and defends Gabbard on "Hannity"

In a Fox News interview broadcast Monday, President Trump defended presidential candidate Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D-Hawaii) against claims of being a Russian asset and said he'd like his attorney general to investigate Hillary Clinton.

Go deeperArrowUpdated Oct 22, 2019