Buttigieg has a realistic view of today’s politics

The case for Pete Buttigieg is simple: The Democratic Party wins when it nominates young, charismatic leaders who are able to convince people outside the party’s base that Democratic values are their own.

by Dylan Matthews – Feb 4, 2020 (Vox.com, excerpt)

[Pete Buttigieg] would be able to pair a form of liberalism that’s more ambitious than Obama’s with a sophistication about political institutions and structures that Obama sometimes lacked. The combination could prove incredibly powerful, and redefine the party for a generation. The results out of Iowa suggest that Democratic voters are beginning to see it too.

Here is a brief rundown of economic and social policies he’s endorsed and promoted:

But that’s not all. Buttigieg has devoted attention to big structural problems that afflict our democracy, and has proposed solutions that are genuinely radical.

Taken as a whole, his agenda isn’t as ambitious as that of Sanders or Warren. But make no mistake: This is a bold wish list, full of items that either the Obama administration struggled to pass even with 59 senators (like immigration reform and a price on carbon emissions) or that would’ve been too radical for Obama to begin with (like a $15 minimum wage, universal child care, a Medicare buy-in not limited to the elderly, and sectoral bargaining — the last of which has barely received any coverage, but which would at a stroke vastly increase the power of the American labor movement).

The fact that his agenda isn’t as progressive as those on the left flank of the party is a plus for Buttigieg, not a minus. Sanders and Warren have performed a valuable service by making the objectively quite ambitious agenda of Buttigieg appear, by comparison, incredibly mild, a centrist approach to expanding the safety net.

A perception of relative moderation will most likely help, not hurt, the eventual nominee. The most rigorous studies on this question from political scientists tend to find that moderate nominees have a distinct advantage over ones perceived as more extreme, largely because they don’t activate their opponent’s base the same way a more extreme nominee would.

Put another way: Sanders would terrify and turn out Trump’s base, whereas Buttigieg likely would not.

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