Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg took at passing swipe at 2020 front-runner Joseph R. Biden on Thursday, declaring that “nobody’s earned the nomination” based solely on their political experience.
The South Bend, Indiana, mayor sat down for a live interview with The Washington Post’s Robert Costa, who asked about potential voters who argue that the former vice president has “earned the nomination because of his experience working with President Obama.”
“I think you earn the nomination by winning it,” Mr. Buttigieg responded. “Nobody’s earned the nomination in 2019.”
“The way you earn the nomination is to present a vision for where the party needs to go and where the country needs to go,” the mayor continued. “And I think for the Democratic Party today, the other way you earn the nomination is demonstrating that you’re the one who can beat this president and win.”
Mr. Buttigieg argued that Democrats often make the mistake of treating Trump voters like they’re “exotic,” and that the best way to ensure the president gets reelected in 2020 is by underestimating his ability to reach people.
Mr. Buttigieg said voters, particularly in the industrial Midwest, were so “completely fed up” with the political and economic system in 2016 that they were willing to vote for somebody they disliked just to send a message that they wanted to “burn the house down.”
He said “we could very well lose again” in 2020 if Democrats are perceived as “replicating a system that let people down, economically and politically.”
Mr. Costa chimed in, asking, “You think Vice President Biden is a replication of that system?”
“I’m not talking about any one of my competitors,” Mr. Buttigieg clarified.
“It was in reference to a Biden question,” Mr. Costa shot back.
“When it comes to the other 23 competitors, or however many it is this week,” Mr. Buttigieg continued, “I am sure that none of them have quite the same account as I do of where this country is headed and how we’re going to change it.”