Don’t Deepen the Divide
It’s clear after watching the third Democratic debate that Pete Buttigieg took a backseat to the attacking nature of the other candidates on stage. While all Democratic candidates, particularly Kamala Harris, spent their time talking about President Trump, Buttigieg made it known that he wants to unify the country, not deepen the divide. Being that the debate was on September 12th after the 18th anniversary of 9/11, one of the first things he talked about was unifying America to the same level that it was unified after 9/11. Shortly after this, he interrupted an argument between Joe Biden and Julián Castro to say that the arguing during elections causes many Americans to tune politicians out. He solidified that all of them are fighting for the same things but with different plans. His comment was met with laughter from the other candidates and the crowd after Castro reminded Buttigieg that arguing like that is what elections are made of.
While candidates frequently talk about bringing the country together, they laughed at Buttigieg when he tried to disrupt a divisive argument. His Midwestern attitude has framed the way his whole campaign has been run, where he tries to be respectful even when calling someone out. Does Buttigieg have the right idea going into this election? I think that his strategy will make him more appealing to Republicans and will possibly give him a shot of winning over some of the more moderate voters.
The hardest part about running against an incumbent is trying to get their current supporters to transition to giving a completely new candidate a shot. It is going to be difficult to beat Trump, but if one of these candidates could convince those on the fence to give their support to someone else, then there would be a real competition. The other candidates appeal to the Democrats for sure, but not many would be able to pull some of the Independents or moderate Republicans. Because Buttigieg is so persistent on bringing everyone together, he appears more welcoming to those with opposing views. Yes, he wants to get Trump out of the office like everyone else, but he isn’t attacking those who are current supporters in this debate.
Regardless of his personality, Buttigieg actually has some attributes that a traditional Republican would find appealing. He is the only candidate with any military experience: he served in Afghanistan for seven months. Because of this, one of his policy focuses is to provide better health care to Veterans. He also has been raised Catholic and although he wants to bring Medicare, he promotes “Medicare for all who want it,” not “Medicare for all.” In addition, he acknowledged during the debate that not everyone who is conservative is against immigration. When thinking about the people of Iowa, I think his personality will be appealing and that he will gain more support than expected. He is ready to bring people together, and his experience working in the Midwest will likely gain the trust of many voters.