After coming in a distant 3rd place to Bernie Sanders, 2020 candidate Pete Buttigieg immediately went on the attack in trying to raise doubt over whether Sanders should be the front-runner, and attempting to position himself as the best anti-Sanders alternative.
TheHill reports Former South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Saturday made his most explicit case yet that Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) would be unable to beat President Trump, just hours after Sanders vaulted ahead of his rivals in the race for the Democratic presidential nomination.
Buttigieg, who had spent more time in Nevada than all but a handful of the other candidates, used his concession speech to warn against a “rush to nominate Sen. Sanders,” casting him as a disaster in waiting for Democrats up and down the ballot.
“I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having, from the top of the ticket, on those crucial, front-line House and Senate Democrats running to win, who we need to win, to make sure our agenda is more than just words on a page,” Buttigieg said.
“Sen. Sanders, on the other hand, is ignoring, dismissing, or even attacking the very Democrats we absolutely must send to Capitol Hill in order to keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, in order to support judges who respect privacy and democracy, and in order to send Mitch McConnell into retirement. Let’s listen to what those voices are telling us,” he said.
Buttigieg’s remarks are potent because he is not the candidate who has won support from the most vulnerable House Democrats who have already endorsed a presidential contender. Most of those incumbents are backing former Vice President Joe Biden.
In his remarks, Buttigieg also sought to cast himself as a pragmatic, yet ambitious, candidate capable of building the kind of coalition that Democrats will need to assemble if they hope to defeat Trump in the general election.
Sanders, he said, would prioritize ideological purity and pie-in-the-sky policy proposals, while doing nothing to remedy the country’s political divisions.
“That is the choice before us: We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new, broad, big-hearted American coalition,” Buttigieg said.
Sanders on Saturday won the Nevada caucuses in impressive fashion. As early results trickled in, he was carrying more than twice as much support as his nearest rival, Biden. The results will give Sanders a substantial lead in the race for delegates to the Democratic National Convention, and critical momentum ahead of South Carolina’s primary on Feb. 29 and Super Tuesday on March 3.
Buttigieg cast Sanders, a self-identified democratic socialist, as deeply out of touch with a broad swath of Democratic primary voters — and of voters who will decide whether Trump gets a second term in November.
“Sen. Sanders sees capitalism as the root of all evil. He’d go beyond reform and reorder the economy in ways most Democrats, let alone most Americans, don’t support,” Buttigieg said. “Sen. Sanders’s revolution has the tenor of combat, division and polarization, a vision where whoever wins the day, nothing will change the toxic tone of our politics.”
Buttigieg’s speech got poor ratings on the NBC YouTube channel, with over 4 times as many dislikes than likes.
All the top comments on the NBC YouTube channel were also negative.