Last night, former South Bend Mayor and erstwhile installer of colored lights and decorative brick Pete Buttigeig was a headline speaker at the New Hampshire Democratic Party’s McIntyre-Shaheen 100 Club Event. He mostly gave his stump speech but took a little time out from his platitudes to dig at Bernie Sanders:
With a president this disruptive we cannot run the risk of trying to defeat a fundamentally new challenge by relying on the familiar playbook from before. With a president this divisive we cannot risk dividing America’s future further saying you must either be for a revolution or you must be for the status quo.
The Sandersistas, who seem to be a majority in the event, were not amused:
Seeing Warren supporters look over and smile at the Bernie crowd when they were chanting "Wall Street Pete" was a thing of beauty.
As was seeing the Pete section looking like they collectively wanted to call the manager.
— Spud🥔Boy (@JockoPotato) February 9, 2020
lol Quit lying.
You didn't over power anything and this video proves that. Pete was booed by Bernie, Warren, and even Amy supporters who all chanted #WallStreetPete.
— Leftward Swing – Green Party voter🌹🌻 (@LeftwardSwing) February 9, 2020
I think there is an interesting lesson here. Sanders supporters are the one bloc of Democrat voters who are unassailable by any other candidate. Where virtually all of Elizabeth Warrens’ supporters have a second preference for a candidate, only about a quarter of Sanders supporters say they will support someone else. Joe Biden’s attacks on Buttigieg are pretty much cost free. There are very very few people out there who think Buttigieg has charisma and fewer still who thinks the privileged gay mayor of a small Midwestern city really has the answers for America. The are looking at Buttigieg and thinking, ‘he doesn’t have the baggage of Biden and Warren and he’s not totally nuts so I’m voting for him.’ Buttigieg supporters are potentially Biden supporters so long as Biden doesn’t make Buttigieg play with his leg hair in publlc…though, quite honestly, that would probably win him a lot of Democrat voters. This is why the reports of Warren and Biden supporters joining in makes sense.
Attacks on Sanders don’t work that way and everyone except Buttigieg seems to know it. The only hope the Democrats for beating Sanders and keeping his voters corralled is to do it cleanly and respectfully and above board. Attacking him is not going to work as the spontaneous response to even an extremely mild critique of Sanders’s radicalism shows.
Entire Buttigieg speech cueed to the critique of Sanders: