(Clinton: Maule/Fotogramma/Ropi; Gabbard: Preston Ehrler/ZUMA Press/Newscom)

Gabbard called Clinton “the queen of warmongers, embodiment of corruption, and personification of the rot that has sickened the Democratic Party for so long.”

Clinton suggests Tulsi Gabbard and Jill Stein are “Russian assets.” Since announcing her 2020 presidential bid, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard (D–Hawaii) has been plagued by bizarre conspiracy theories, including rumors that she’s in league with Russia and that she plans a third-party run. Now Hillary Clinton has joined the theorists levying the allegations. In a recent podcast, the Democrats’ 2016 nominee warned that Russia was “grooming” Gabbard “to be the third-party candidate.”

As a woman with anti-war beliefs, sometimes idiosyncratic policy positions, and an apparent allergy to parroting all of her party’s preferred talking points, Gabbard has rankled a lot of establishment Democrats and picked up fans from several factions, including several conservatives.

That last part has further fueled rumors that Gabbard’s run as a Democrat is just a prelude to an independent or third-party presidential campaign next year. Some figures have been fuming about that (very slim) possibility, just as they’ve fumed over the possibility that Rep. Justin Amash (I–Mich.) might do the same. Just as they fume anytime anyone dares challenge the idea that U.S. politics should mean a challenge between one Republican and one Democrat.

The more wacko speculation surrounding Gabbard is that she’s linked to Russia. As in the 2016 election, there’s a lot of careless conflation between the idea that she’s a Russian plant and the idea that some people in Moscow would like her to do well.

Hillary Clinton combined both theories into one (while also roping in Jill Stein for good measure) on a podcast with David Plouffe. Clinton told Plouffe that she thinks a woman currently running in the Democratic presidential primary is being groomed by Russia to run as a third-party candidate: (ELIZABETH NOLAN BROWN)

Posted by The non-Conformist