Southbend, Ind. mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg suggested in a recent interview that the strain of populism harnessed by President Donald Trump represents a “white-guy identity politics.”
“By far the political movement that is most based on identity politics is Trumpism. It’s based on white-guy identity politics. It uses race to divide the working and middle class,” Buttigieg told the Associated Press when asked whether Trump relied on racial animus to win the White House. “There are a lot of strategies to blame problems on people who look different or are of a different faith or even of a different sexuality or gender identity. . . . It’s a cynical political strategy that works in the short term but winds up weakening the whole country in the long term.”
Since rising over the past few months from relative obscurity to third in national polls of the race, Buttigieg has turned criticisms traditionally leveled by Republicans at Democrats around on the party of Trump.
“First comes freedom, something that our conservative friends have come to think of as their own. . . . Let me tell you: Freedom doesn’t belong to one political party. Freedom has been a Democratic bedrock ever since the New Deal. Freedom from want, freedom from fear,” Buttigieg said when announcing his campaign Sunday.
“Our conservative friends care about freedom, but only make it part of the journey. They only see ‘freedom from.’ But that’s not true,” he continued. “Your neighbor can make you unfree. Your cable company can make you unfree. There’s a lot more to your freedom than the size of your government.”
Buttigieg drew a crowd of 1,600 to a rally in Des Moines, Iowa Tuesday night and, according to a recent Emerson poll, he now trails only Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden in the race for the Democratic nomination.