In his Nevada concession speech, Pete Buttigieg took direct aim at Bernie Sanders and warned that the Vermont senator’s candidacy and “toxic tone” endanger down ballot races where victory is required to keep the House and take the Senate.
Said Buttigieg: “I congratulate Senator Sanders on a strong showing today knowing we celebrate many of the same ideals. … But before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders in our one shot to take on this president, let us take a sober look at what is at stake for our party, for our values, and for those with the most to lose. … I believe the best way to defeat Donald Trump and deliver for the American people is to broaden and galvanize the majority that supports us on the critical issues. Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans.”
Buttigieg continued: “I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having, from the top of the ticket, on those crucial, front-line House and Senate Democrats running to win, who we need to win, to make sure our agenda is more than just words on a page.”
“Sen. Sanders, on the other hand, is ignoring, dismissing, or even attacking the very Democrats we absolutely must send to Capitol Hill in order to keep Nancy Pelosi as Speaker, in order to support judges who respect privacy and democracy, and in order to send Mitch McConnell into retirement,” Buttigieg added. “Let’s listen to what those voices are telling us.”
“That is the choice before us,” continued Buttigieg. “We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory. We can either call people names online or we can call them into our movement. We can either tighten a narrow and hardcore base or open the tent to a new and broad and big-hearted American coalition.”
“Senator Sanders sees capitalism as the root of all evil. He’d go beyond reform and reorder the economy in ways most Democrats, let alone most Americans, don’t support,” Buttigieg added. “Senator Sanders’s revolution has the tenor of combat, division and polarization, a vision where whoever wins the day, nothing will change the toxic tone of our politics.”
CNN reports: “The Nevada speech is by far the most direct Buttigieg has ever delivered about Sanders, a candidate who just months ago the former mayor went to lengths to avoid attacking by name.But Buttigieg’s campaign, as Sanders’ momentum has grown, has become more aggressive than anyone in the Democratic field at taking on the race’s frontrunner.The strategy is an acknowledgment that, without a significant change in the nomination fight, Sanders will be far ahead on the path towards winning the nomination — a point Buttigieg made publicly at the debate on Wednesday.”