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Buttigieg: Capitalism Has ‘Let a Lot of People Down’

Democratic 2020 presidential candidate and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg campaigns at Gibson’s Bookstore in Concord, N.H., April 6, 2019. (Mary Schwalm/Reuters)

Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg offered an explanation Tuesday for why socialism has caught on lately among some lawmakers and voters.

“I think the reason we’re having this argument over socialism and capitalism is that capitalism has let a lot of people down,” the South Bend, Ind. mayor said on CNN, before stressing that democratic norms must underpin the capitalist system. “At the end of the day, we prioritize democracy. And having that framework of a rule of law, of fairness, is actually what it takes for markets to work.”

Buttigieg told CNBC last week that the U.S. is at a moment where “concentrated wealth has begun to turn into concentrated power.”

“American capitalism is one of the most productive forces ever known to man, and there’s so much that this country has been able to unlock, especially in the last century, in terms of technology, in terms of prosperity,” he said. “Now where it goes wrong is when it’s only being experienced in certain parts of the country or by certain kinds of people, and I think it goes to show just how important it is for capitalism to work that it be backed by all of the other pieces that business alone can’t solve.”

The Afghanistan War veteran, 37, who officially launched his presidential campaign on Sunday, has enjoyed a meteoric rise over the past few months from virtual unknown to national prominence.

Senator Bernie Sanders leads the Democratic presidential field with 29 percent of voters’ support, former vice president Joe Biden is close behind at 24 percent, and Buttigieg is in third place with 9 percent, according to a recent survey by Emerson Polling.

Buttigieg said he believes his campaign has proven it will not burn out quickly, or be just the “flavor of the month.”

“You want to make sure you’re not regarded as a flash in the pan, but I think the fact we’ve been at this more than a month, so we’ve outlived the flavor-of-the-month period,” he said.

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