Sanders Campaign Rips Buttigieg for Comparing Bernie Supporters to Trump Voters

Pete Buttigieg announces that he will seek the Democratic presidential nomination during a rally in South Bend, Ind., Sunday, April 14, 2019. Buttigieg, 37, is serving his second term as the mayor of South Bend. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
AP Photo/Michael Conroy

The co-chairs of Sen. Bernie Sanders’s (I-VT) presidential campaign ripped South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg on Sunday evening for comparing Sanders’s supporters to those who voted for President Donald Trump in 2016.

Buttigieg recently said in New Hampshire that Sanders’s supporters, like Trump’s, have a “sense of anger and disaffection” that makes them “more likelty to want to vote to blow up the system.”

“I think the sense of anger and disaffection that comes from seeing that the numbers are fine, like unemployment’s low, like all that, like you said GDP is growing and yet a lot of neighborhoods and families are living like this recovery never even happened. They’re stuck,” Buttigieg reportedly said. “It just kind of turns you against the system in general and then you’re more likely to want to vote to blow up the system, which could lead you to somebody like Bernie and it could lead you to somebody like Trump. That’s how we got where we are.”

Nina Turner and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-CA), national co-chairs of Sanders’s presidential campaign, criticized Buttigieg’s comparison while also previewing what could be potential attacks against Buttigieg if “Mayor Pete” continues to rise in the polls.

“Bernie Sanders’ supporters are not the same as Trump fans — Sen. @BernieSanders supporters are Democratic & Independent voters, many of whom are people of color,” Turner tweeted, not-so-subtly comparing the “diverse” Sanders supporters to the wealthy white “wine-track” liberals who have been behind the so-called “Buttigieg boomlet.”

Khanna claimed it is “intellectually dishonest to compare Bernie to Trump” while also jabbing Buttigieg’s stance against free college for all and the mayor’s “credentialed elitism.”

“Come on @PeteButtigieg. It is intellectually dishonest to compare Bernie to Trump. Bernie is for giving people healthcare, education, childcare, & more pay. He wants to blow up credentialed elitism — those who reject tuition free college for all,” Khanna tweeted.

As Breitbart News pointed out, Current Affairs Editor Nathan Robinson recently blistered Buttigieg’s “credentialed elitism” that may prevent him from appealing to the rising anti-establishment Democrats who increasingly distrust elites who sound like typical politicians and focus group-driven consultants:

Before I dive into Shortest Way Home’s account of the life and career of Peter Buttigieg, let me be up front about my bias. I don’t trust former McKinsey consultants. I don’t trust military intelligence officers. And I don’t trust the type of people likely to appear on “40 under 40” lists, the valedictorian-to-Harvard-to-Rhodes-Scholarship types who populate the American elite. I don’t trust people who get flattering reams of newspaper profiles and are pitched as the Next Big Thing That You Must Pay Attention To, and I don’t trust wunderkinds who become successful too early. Why? Because I am somewhat cynical about the United States meritocracy. Few people amass these kind of résumés if they are the type to openly challenge authority. Noam Chomsky says that the factors predicting success in our “meritocracy” are a “combination of greed, cynicism, obsequiousness and subordination, lack of curiosity and independence of mind, [and] self-serving disregard for others.” So when journalists see “Harvard” and think “impressive,” I see it and think “uh-oh.”

I try my best to be fair, though. I thought former Michigan gubernatorial candidate Abdul El-Sayed was suspect because of his shiny résumé. But after examining his proposals and listening to his speeches, I realized he was the real deal. He had done well in school, but he was genuinely outraged by preventable human misery, talked openly about taking on corporate oligarchy, and had bold plans for revolutionizing health care, environmental policy, and just about everything else. I have lots of friends who are the products of elite institutions, but became critical of those institutions after being exposed to their inner workings. If Pete Buttigieg is one of those, great!

Pete Buttigieg is not one of those.


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