Rising Democratic star Pete Buttigieg showed on Monday why he could be Donald Trump’s worst nightmare in a potential 2020 general election contest.
During an interview with Rachel Maddow, the South Bend mayor slammed Trump and his Republican allies for relying on manipulation to keep their power instead of putting forward ideas that will help the American people.
“Most Americans don’t want this,” Buttigieg said of the agenda being pushed by Trump and his extremist friends in Congress. “Most Americans don’t want the conservative agenda that we’re now seeing – the extreme agenda – that we’re seeing in Washington.”
He added: “It is precisely for that reason that they have to interfere with democracy with things like voter suppression or clinging on an electoral college that overrules the will of the American people. It is precisely because the American people, by and large, don’t want what they’re selling that they are relying on manipulations of our political structure in order to keep their political agenda in play.”
Pete Buttigieg tells Rachel Maddow that Trump and the GOP know the American people don’t want what they’re selling, so they are relying on manipulation to keep their power. #ctl #p2 #maddow pic.twitter.com/adm3ZTYwUh
— PoliticusUSA (@politicususa) April 16, 2019
Pete Buttigieg is quickly rising in the polls
As Buttigieg’s campaign gets more attention in recent weeks, his campaign has already exceeded expectations. He has raised more money and continues to place higher in the polls than most political pundits would have predicted.
As I wrote last week, Buttigieg has leaped into third place in early the primary states of Iowa and New Hampshire. In another poll released by Emerson on Monday, the South Bend mayor placed third nationally as well.
With his rise, many are already comparing Buttigieg’s campaign to Barack Obama’s 2008 run, particularly after the mayor’s kick-off over the weekend.
In a lifetime of following politics, the only time I have heard as excited a reaction to a campaign as I heard today about @PeteButtigieg’s launch was @BarackObama in 2008 and Ronald Reagan in 1980.
Yes, it’s very early. But the reaction has been remarkable. pic.twitter.com/MGyexI1Og0
— Joe Scarborough (@JoeNBC) April 14, 2019
Former judicial adviser to Obama’s 2008 candidacy called Buttigieg’s announcement “the most inspiring” he has seen since the former president’s, adding that the South Bend mayor’s campaign is “not just for an office but for an era.”
The announcement of @PeteButtigieg was the most inspiring I’ve seen since @BarackObama’s. He’s not the only candidate I like. But he’s the one whose aspirations for the country I love speak most forcefully to me today. His is a campaign not just for an office but for an era.
— Laurence Tribe (@tribelaw) April 14, 2019
Buttigieg’s follow-up interview with Rachel Maddow on Monday showed that he can match his sharp political style with a level of substance that Trump is ill-equipped to match.
The South Bend mayor isn’t just pushing an “I’m not Trump” campaign strategy. He is exposing Trumpism for what it is – a massive con – and urging his party to advocate for structural reforms to protect the country from any further attempts to erode American democracy.
It’s a message of sanity and stability that voters of all political stripes will likely pay attention to as the campaign season continues.
It remains to be seen whether Pete Buttigieg’s rise will continue, or if it’s a temporary surge in the early stages of the Democratic primary. But one thing is clear: Pete Buttigieg has already exceeded expectations.
Sean Colarossi currently resides in Cleveland, Ohio. He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Massachusetts Amherst and was an organizing fellow for both of President Obama’s presidential campaigns. He also worked with Planned Parenthood as an Affordable Care Act Outreach Organizer in 2014, helping northeast Ohio residents obtain health insurance coverage.