The Corner

Elections

Buttigieg Is Definitely Gaining Momentum

In response to Is Pete Buttigieg Gaining Momentum? Or Just Managing Expectations?

Jim, I think Buttigieg is definitely gaining momentum. I’ve been a Mayor Pete skeptic. But he’s been in double digits in Iowa for about a month; he’s emphasizing his relative moderation more, clearly with an eye to Biden’s weakness (and Warren’s strength); and he’s an extremely deft talker. Obviously, there’s still a big question whether he can possibly break out of his demographic silo of college-educated whites. I’d think he’d top out as a Gary Hart 1984– or John Edwards 2004–type candidate, a newcomer who vastly outperforms expectations. As for the general state of the race, I think it’s foolish for anyone to insist it’s a three-person race or a Biden–Warren race. It could still end up a Warren–Buttigieg race, or have some other unexpected configuration, especially if Biden fades.

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