Former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg (D) ended his presidential campaign on Sunday, following a disappointing finish in the South Carolina primary.
“Tonight I am making the difficult decision to suspend my campaign for the presidency,” Buttigieg told his supporters. “I will do everything in my power to ensure that we have a new Democratic president come January.”
“In a field in which more than two dozen Democratic candidates ran for president — senators and governors, billionaires, a former vice president — we achieved a top four finish in each of the first four states,” the former mayor continued.
“We found countless Americans ready to support a middle-class millennial mayor from the industrial Midwest, not in spite of that experience but because of it, eager to get Washington to start working like our best-run communities,” he added.
Buttigieg, who met with former President Jimmy Carter in Georgia earlier Sunday, told reporters he will make an announcement in South Bend at 8:30 p.m. instead of traveling to Texas, where he was scheduled to campaign for Super Tuesday. After Saturday’s fourth-place finish in South Carolina, Buttigieg sang a vastly different tune, vowing to remain in the race for weeks and months to come. “This is the majority we will seek to energize into Super Tuesday and beyond, welcoming new allies as we go,” he told supporters in his concession speech.
Buttigieg, an Afghanistan war veteran and the first openly gay major presidential candidate, went from obscurity to a household name over the course of his White House run in large part due to glowing coverage from the corporate media. Though Buttigieg fashioned himself as moderate, the Indiana Democrat’s platform included several progressive policy prescriptions, including a “glide-path” to Medicare for All and a pledge to pack the Supreme Court with as many as six additional justices, expanding the bench from nine to 15. The former mayor signaled that he does not believe in any restrictions whatsoever on abortion and has asserted that there is no place for pro-life voters in the Democrat Party. He has also called for the abolishment of the Electoral College, once claiming that it makes the United States “less democratic.”
While Buttigieg ran on a message of unity, he repeatedly smeared President Trump and his supporters as racists.
“The reality is there are a lot of committed racists whose vote I’m never going to get and that’s alright,” Buttigieg said in July.
In September, the former mayor was pressed on whether voters who support President Trump’s immigration policies were xenophobic. “Anyone who supports this is supporting racism,” he responded.
Buttigieg has also accused President Trump, Vice President Mike Pence and their Christian supporters of betraying their faith.
“What I would say is that it’s clear that some naked sins are being at best condoned by people who then summon religious arguments,” he told Religion News Service in August.
Of Buttigieg’s largest political failings was his inability to shore up support from the African-American community. The latest Washington Post/Ipsos poll shows the 38-year-old had a mere two percent support among African-American Democrat voters and Democrat-leaning independent voters. His demotion of Darryl Boykins, South Bend’s first African-American police chief, badly damaged his relationship with local black leaders. The deadly 2019 shooting of Eric Logan, a black man killed by a white police officer, sowed further anger. Buttigieg was repeatedly protested by Black Lives Matter activists on the campaign trail.
Buttigieg also took heavy fire from the left. After strong showings in the Iowa caucuses and New Hampshire primary, Buttigieg was targeted by Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT), the Democrat primary frontrunner and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA), earning the nickname “Wine Cave Pete” for hosting glitzy campaign fundraisers and receiving support from a handful of billionaires. He has also been accused of leaning heavily into platitudes in his campaign speech and even mimicking former President Barack Obama.
President Trump reacted to Buttigieg’s departure from the race by saying it was a sign that the Democrat establishment is lining up against Sanders in favor of former Vice President Joe Biden, winner of the South Carolina primary. “Pete Buttigieg is OUT. All of his SuperTuesday votes will go to Sleepy Joe Biden. Great timing. This is the REAL beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play – NO NOMINATION, AGAIN!” the president tweeted.
Pete Buttigieg is OUT. All of his SuperTuesday votes will go to Sleepy Joe Biden. Great timing. This is the REAL beginning of the Dems taking Bernie out of play – NO NOMINATION, AGAIN!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 1, 2020