Tulsi Gabbard Talks Resistance to Pennsylvania Progressives

20170217_191017Harrisburg — Hawaii Rep. Tulsi Gabbard spoke to a crowd of over 300 people in Harrisburg about how to continue the resistance against President Trump and his agenda.  

It was the Keystone Progressive Summit, an annual gathering of liberal activists and leaders from across Pa.

Gabbard, an Iraq War veteran and sophomore Congresswoman, told the room that they need to stay on the path forward, instead of falling back.  

“We must stay focused and rooted, and grounded as we navigate to path forward,” Gabbard said.  

“Rather than burning bridges, we need to focus on building bridges.  Focus on providing leadership, focus on providing vision and taking action in a positive direction.”

Her speech echoed the tone of the event, with activists determined to move the Democratic party to the left. Last year’s featured guest was Vermont Senator and presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders.

“This in no way means giving up principles, this in no way means stepping away from our values.  Actually it is the opposite, it is taking a stand strongly now for our principles,” Gabbard said.

Despite a reputation as a progressive hero, Gabbard has taken heat from the left in recent months for signaling a willingness to work with President Trump. She had a high-profile meeting with Trump in November. She pushed back on that criticism Friday.

“There are some who think that the best way to approach the next four years is through constant and consistent obstruction at every step and every turn. I disagree with that,” she said.

“We can best serve our communities, our state and our country by stepping up as leaders.”

28 Responses

  1. Jones: Whether we like it or not, Ed Rendell is one of the leaders of our party and part of the Democratic establishment. As a result, he has immense influence on many issues, including who runs for office, who gets money and so on. This was illustrated clearly in the 2016 Senate race in which Katie McGinty took out Joe Sestak with the use of millions of last minute money.

    As far as his credibility is concerned, the only opinions that count are those of the Pennsylvania electorate. As long as they believe him and believe in him, he will have power.

  2. dgrhoads: Do you still believe anything Ed Rendell says? Why do the Dems even allow him to speak for them?

  3. Looks like the Democrats aren’t about to convert the “uneducated white men” who voted for Trump back to the “working families” who voted for Obama. I had thought Tulsi Gabbard to be one of the few sane Democrats left. Not so sure now. I propose the DNC replace the donkey with the lemming.

  4. How can you call yourself a Democrat when you voted for Jill Stein Steve Todd? With Democrats like you, who needs Republicans!

  5. As Joanne pointed out, Sanders spoke to us in 2015, not last year, as the article states.

    Thanks for giving us coverage!

    We will move our Democratic party left, or we will not gain liberal, working class support. Simple as that.

  6. Kathy Kane was their biggest supporter and when she gets out of jail she will be back leading them

  7. Where did everybody go? This Summit SUCKS. The only people left are Me and 3 Women who look like cross between barney frank and Rosie.

  8. Fyi, Bernie Sanders was the keynote speaker at the 2015 Keystone Progesss conference rather than the 2016 conference.

  9. It would indeed be a good thing to try to distinguish mainstream Democrats from their progressive “wing” that seems to have detached from the party’s aircraft. Pennsylvania’s Democrats, like those in many other states, remain unable to move as far left as the national party leadership would want them to. They keep close to their voting publics, and this in a strongly divided state where failure to do so could swing their district in a coming election.

    For some time now, however, Democrats in Pennsylvania and other states indeed to moved left as the result of national-level pressure. This despite repeated warnings from party moderates that in both programmatic and ideological terms this would alienate them from the traditional base, and that the leftist elements in the party were not sufficient in that case to carry elections. Nationwide, the Democrats at the state level have been demonstrating this through their losses for the past decade. But there still is a lot of pressure from an increasingly detached and preoccupied DNC leadership against sensible, corrective measures.

    We also have to keep in mind that at the national level the DNC remains under immense pressure and influence from its left, even to the extent that the latter sees itself as the vanguard of the party’s future. This past election, the Democrats indeed did not campaign as far left as they could have, for reasons of basic practicality. However, a look at the 2016 national party platform indicates a continuing drift leftward throughout.

    The 2016 Red Tide would probably have swamped more Democrats had the party at the national level taken a more leftward course. The Clinton campaign was less focused on ideology than winning, but at the national as well as the state level it remained unaware of the depth of resentment and concern for the future that had built in the voting public the past decade. And any practical measures were still insufficient to prevent a major Republican victory. Few Democrats were even aware of the magnitude of their loss until 11 PM on 8 November. Many still remain in denial.

  10. Some of you seem to conflate Progressives with the Democratic Party establishment. They are not. The Democratic Party neglected Labor and the working people and emphasized the suburbanites.

    The Clinton and McGinty campaigns followed the strategies of the Democratic Party, not that of the Progressives. Was it Rendell that said that for every Trump voter in the middle of the state, there would be two Republican suburbanites who would vote for Clinton? History showed us that that assumption was not quite true.

    The major emphasis of Gabbard’s speech was on the Syrian War. She pointed out that neither of our two current major miitary options in that war (maintain the status quo and put many more boots on the ground in Syria) is likely to end well. In fact it would be just as much a failure as our regime-change interventions in Iraq and Libya in which we have spent trillions with nothing positive to show for it.

  11. Well, gulag, I may make apple juice but I’m not in the Kool-Aid business. I’ve never been in Pennsylvania or other politics, but I like to such follow things here closely. It’s never boring.

  12. New River Bridge–isn’t that the one they are still trying to find an unindicted Pennsylvania Democratic politician to name it after?

  13. Keep moving LEFT. Definitely a winning strategy(for republicans).You Libs are CRAZY, Tulsi is the only Thing I would do in here. The rest look like a MANLIER version of Rachel Maddow. What a waste of my time.

  14. Alas, DelcoDemWoman, if that were true. Keystone Progress is indeed benighted and clearly out of touch with state and national–and planetary–issues, but if would have been just this group’s fault Trump would still be President with 20 fewer electoral votes.

    The reality is that the Keystone Progressives are a microcosm on the state level of the general malaise that currently besets the Democratic Party nationally. It had little in its agenda in the 2016 cycle except to elect Hillary Clinton, and post-election its self-proclaimed mission is “resistance” to the Trump administration.

    If the Pennsylvania Democratic Party leadership uses the Keystone Progress roadmap and keeps in tantrum mode, it will keep losing elections at the state level, and not carry the state in 2020. They may be lucky in 2018, as the Republicans might not have a strong candidate against Casey (all bets are off on Wolf). But unless Democrats go back to being a genuine alternative to the Republicans, and not merely ill-tempered ranters, they will continue to be divided and disappointed at the polls.

  15. I’m shocked this out-of-touch, self-righteous group let Congresswoman Gabbard speak. I’m sure you could hear a polite pin drop but the fact that they let her keynote demonstrates there is hope. This group has lead PA right into the ruby red zone. If they don’t come off their lofty perch, we will have a Republican governor too. UGH!! Please people.

  16. In terms of political awareness and forethought, Tulsi Gabbard certainly seems ahead of the rest of the crowd at the Keystone Progressive Summit. That said, she is unlikely to get many sincere takers on her speech. And she herself has significant conceptual issues regading the role of the Democratic Party and other anti-Trumpers in the current political environment.

    For the so-called “Progressive ” wing of the Democratic Party, and its ideological hangers-on to speak of “resistance” indicates not only a failure from the start to comprehend not only established political norms, but also a departure from common sense. Their reaction to Trump’s election has been to question his administration’s legitimacy and delay and obstruct its operations wherever possible. In the halls of government, they go beyond the accepted rules for challenging the new administration, simply to demonstrate their pique, and then complain when they are sanctioned for such bad behavior. Common sense should tell progressives that they are reaching the point of diminishing returns, and that scortched-earth tactics will begin to fail when you have run out of things to burn down. Public discontent and distrust toward the anti-Trumpists could cause Democrats problems in 2018. But the response of the progressives is to tack even harder left, if possible.

    The question needs asked: Are the anti-Trumpists even on the right track with the “resistance” shtick? It is certainly a meme out of control. As Gabbard notes, the anti-Trumpists can only go so far with it. A more positive and productive course of action would be for the Democrats and their allies to develop their own programs to challenge those of the current administration. Curiously, however, Gabbard nevertheless seems to call for holding on to the very “values” and “principles” that cause an increasing public distrust of the progressivism she also holds so dear.

    However, this is not necessarily a simple case of the blind leading the blind. Gabbard’s is indeed a voice for moderation and cooperation, and does not seem to believe that the whole “Progressive” shtick currently driving the prolonged tantrum of the anti-Trumpists will end well. The real problem with Gabbard’s call to the anti-Trumpists for a more moderate, measured approach in their approach to post-Obama politics is that they cannot thrive without promoting discord and disruption. The worshippers of the Alinskyite gospel are not only happy to be what they are, but they also would not be what they are without such tactics.

  17. It’s very satisfying to have Cole Goodman presenting at the Progressive Summit. Was his presentation on Ethics: How to Avoid Charges, Resign from School Board and Not Go to Prison Over Getting Comfortable With a Student?

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