Pete Buttigieg is the underdog with a chance. After raising $19.1 million over the summer, the South Bend, Indiana mayor isn’t going away as the primary season heats up this fall.
Last night Buttigieg addresed what was described as an enthusiastic crowd at an NAACP fundraiser in Indianapolis. According to the IndyStar, “Buttigieg took the opportunity to plug specific policies in his Douglass Plan to dismantle systemic racism both during his speech and in the fireside chat that followed. Buttigieg touted policies aimed at tripling the number of entrepreneurs of color, directing 25% of federal purchasing toward minority-owned businesses and instituting ’21st century” homestead and voting rights acts.'”
Last night’s appearance bodes well for Buttigieg who is polling at historic lows among Black voters.
The New York Times said, “Mr. Buttigieg has been able to invest in a gold-plated ground game in Iowa as he seeks to challenge two candidates who have been organizing for longer here, Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders”
“We’re entering the stage where the rubber meets the road,” Mr. Buttigieg said in an interview as his four-day trip wrapped up last week. “In order to settle the question of electability, the best thing you can do is perform well in an actual election. Iowa’s of course the first. And so that’s where a lot of our focus is going to go.”
And The Washington Post said Buttigieg is the “one to watch” and in a position to tie third with whoever the two from runners emerge from the Iowa caucuses:
Buttigieg has a number of factors in his favor. First, he is a proven fundraiser (taking in more than $19 million in the third quarter). Second, he attracted big crowds and extremely positive coverage on his Iowa road trip. Third, he is doing what every other non-Biden candidate has failed to do: He is standing firm in the center left. He’s not promising single-payer health care nor confiscatory gun policies. Fourth, he is smart and succinct enough in a debate to make trouble for the far-left candidates, thereby boosting his profile as one of the most adept combatants from the center-left. Warren has yet to be tested as the co-front-runner with Joe Biden, but Buttigieg has already begun by challenging her refusal to cop to tax increases needed to fund single-payer health care and, going even further, suggesting that this is a political character flaw (e.g. not leveling with voters). Fifth, his military service helps his electability argument. It not only gives him some national security credibility but also helps him to take President Trump down more than a few pegs; he can contrast his own service with Trump’s fortuitous “bone spurs” that got him out of serving in Vietnam. Finally, he is the most genuinely middle-class candidate among the top contenders. No millions from book sales, speeches, consulting gigs or past Senate fund-raising (to slide over into the presidential campaign fund).
Photos above: Buttigieg campaigning in Davenport, Iowa. Photos by Timothy B. Kelly.