The focus on Sanders reflects the urgency of the Buttigieg campaign now that the Senator from Vermont has presented a string of strong shows in Iowa, New Hampshire and Nevada and – in the eyes of his main campaign aides – he may have an apparently insurmountable delegate guide “after March 3, when the rich states of the Super Tuesday delegates will vote.
“I think the best way to defeat Donald Trump and hand over to the American people is to expand and galvanize the majority who support us on critical issues,” said Buttigieg during his caucus day party. “Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible ideological revolution that excludes most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.”
Buttigieg therefore – in an integral way – contrasts his convictions with Sanders, slamming the race leader as someone who believes in “taking away” people’s health care choices and wants to “go beyond reforms and rearrange the economy in different ways. most Democrats – let alone most Americans “don’t want to.
Buttigieg also questioned Sanders’ impact on ballot contests, stating that the party needs someone who “really cares about the effect that is getting from the top of the ticket on those critical House and Senate contests that we need to to win “and argue that his vision is” different from Senator Sanders’ will to ignore or reject or even attack the same Democrats that we absolutely must send to Capitol Hill. “
“This is the choice ahead of us,” said Buttigieg. “We can prioritize ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can call people’s names online or we can call them in our movement. We can tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the curtain to a new, vast and generous American coalition.”
The mayor boasted of his election success during his remarks.
“Ours is the only campaign that has beaten Senator Sanders in any part of the country,” said Buttigieg, citing Iowa caucuses, where the state announced it had won two other national delegates that the Vermont senator despite a thin margin.
Nevada’s speech is by far the most direct Buttigieg has ever spoken about Sanders, a candidate that a few months ago the former mayor did everything he could to avoid attacking by name.
But Buttigieg’s campaign, with Sanders’ momentum growing, has become more aggressive than anyone else in the democratic arena in taking command of the race.
The strategy is an acknowledgment that, without a significant change in the nomination struggle, Sanders will be far ahead on the path to winning the nomination – a point Buttigieg made public in the debate on Wednesday.
“We have to wake up like a party,” said Buttigieg. “We could wake up in two weeks from today, the day after Super Tuesday, and the only candidates left will be Bernie Sanders and Mike Bloomberg, the two most polarizing figures on this stage.”
Later in the debate, Buttigieg assumed that Sanders identifies himself as an independent – not a Democrat – by saying, “We propose someone who is actually a Democrat.”
Buttigieg’s campaign has invested heavily in Iowa and New Hampshire, leveraging these two states that have pushed him to reach the top level in Nevada, South Carolina and beyond.
This strategy did not work exactly as Buttigieg would have liked.
A surprising third place in Klobuchar in New Hampshire was seen as an impediment to Buttigieg’s momentum out of state. And Bloomberg, with its more than $ 400 million spent on television advertisements, has further crowded the group of moderate candidates running to face Sanders, giving voters who might be prepared to support Buttigieg yet another option.
The mayor is now heading to South Carolina, probably his most difficult previous states due to his struggles to conquer African American voters, and the Super Tuesday list of states, where he has not yet spent money on television advertising.
Buttigieg, who was asked if he couldn’t take Sanders seriously early enough, said Saturday that he takes “everyone seriously”.
“But right now,” he said, “I think the race is really getting focused. That’s why these contrasts are very important for people to think and understand.”