Coming off of strong performances in both Iowa and New Hampshire, Former South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg says he believes that rival, Bernie Sanders, cannot beat Trump.
Buttigieg said it would “very difficult” for Sen. Bernie Sanders of Vermont to beat Trump in the general election. Buttigieg says Sanders’s self-adopted socialist label isn’t the only reason for his conclusion, assigning blame to the logistics of the senator’s plans to pay for his programs.
“When you look at what he’s proposing in terms of the budget and all the things he’s put forward and how to pay for them, there is a $25 trillion hole in how to pay for everything that he’s put forward,” the presidential candidate told NBC’s Savannah Guthrie on earlier this week.
Buttigieg also dismissed claims that he is “in the pockets of billionaires,” a criticism shared by both Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. “That’s just wrong,” Buttigieg said. “At the end of the day, we have to make sure that we are inviting everybody we can to help defeat Donald Trump.”
Guthrie earlier raised the issue of Buttigieg’s struggle to garner black support for his campaign, citing his low approval numbers in the black community despite his efforts to win over the demographic. “It hasn’t paid any dividends,” she said. “Can you show or demonstrate any progress in that regard?”
Buttigieg replied that “voters of color” are “laser-focused on defeating this president,” crediting his electability for his recent victory in the Iowa caucuses and close second place showing in New Hampshire.
However, in November 2019, Buttigieg was polling at nearly 0% among black primary voters in South Carolina. Since then, Buttigieg has made repeated efforts to court black voters, who largely favor Biden and have given him a “firewall” in South Carolina. Biden performed dismally in both Iowa and New Hampshire.
Buttigieg faced backlash for misrepresenting black support for his “Marshall Plan” while using a stock photo of a Kenyan woman to showcase the program. A Brookings Institution analysis from November surmised that if Buttigieg fails to gain greater support from black voters in South Carolina, it would hurt his chances on a national scale.