Tulsi Gabbard reveals she is running for president

Representative Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii threw her hat into the ring for the 2020 presidential election, telling CNN's Van Jones, the (formerly?) open communist and CNN host:

"I have decided to run and will be making a formal announcement within the next week," the Hawaii Democrat told CNN's Van Jones during an interview slated to air at 7 p.m. Saturday on CNN's "The Van Jones Show."

If Gabbard were a Republican, she commonly would be described as a "maverick," for she openly tweaks the Democrats' leadership on a variety of issues and resigned as party vice chairman in order to support the candidacy of Bernie Sanders over Hillary Clinton.  She has unorthodox positions on a number of issues and defies categorization, even though she is generally progressive-left.

From the conversation with Jones:

"There are a lot of reasons for me to make this decision.  There are a lot of challenges that are facing the American people that I'm concerned about and that I want to help solve," she said, listing health care access, criminal justice reform and climate change as key platform issues.

Those are all issues that are broadly popular among Dems, but when it gets to foreign policy, she has strong views that are way outside the Dem mainstream.  Fox News:

After Donald Trump was elected, she met with the then president-elect to discuss the war in Syria.

Last year, Gabbard came under intense criticism – including from some Democrats – for traveling to that country and meeting with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, whose government lawmakers have accused of war crimes and even genocide during that country's brutal civil war.

The Free Beacon adds:

It was reported that Gabbard did not file necessary forms with the House Ethics Committee disclosing who paid for her trip to Syria as well as who else she may have met with there. Two months later, she was criticized by fellow Democrats for not blaming Assad for a gas attack that killed at least 100 civilians.

The Russian-owned website Sputnik News loves her,  headlining, "Tulsi Gabbard Speaks the Truth on Syria, Gets Smeared by the Mainstream Media."

And a "cheat sheet" issued by the RNC after her announcement called her "Saddam's Mouthpiece in Washington," as Politico's Mark Caputo noted:

One of her unorthodox positions among Democrats is her criticism of President Obama for failing to take the Islamic threat seriously and her claim that Obama is working hand in hand with Islamic extremists.  But she is no fan of President Trump, even blaming him for the false missile alert in Hawaii.

She is a veteran of two tours in Iraq, having served in a medical unit as a major in the National Guard, and is the first Samoan-heritage American elected to Congress, as well as the first Hindu woman, bringing those "diversity points" so beloved of Democrats.

Most recently, to her immense credit, she denounced the anti-Catholic religious bigotry of Senator Feinstein and, implicitly, fellow Hawaiian Mazie Hirono and Kamala Harris.

She probably has made too many enemies in the Democratic Party to win, but I cannot rule out anything happening in this cycle with a huge and growing field and a fanatical desire to defeat President Trump.  My guess is that she is so unusual, opinionated, well spoken, and different that she has the potential to come out of nowhere, as Barack Obama did, to become a wild card nominee.  She is also so young (38) that this cycle is more likely a warm-up for a future run.