2020 Democrat presidential candidate South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg likened the supporters of President Donald Trump and fellow White House hopeful Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) during a campaign stop on Friday.
Speaking in Nashua, New Hampshire, the 37-year-old said both groups of voters feel disaffected by the system and want to see change disrupt the status quo.
“I think the sense of anger and disaffection that comes from seeing that the numbers are fine, like unemployment’s low, like all that, like you said GDP is growing and yet a lot of neighborhoods and families are living like this recovery never even happened. They’re stuck,” Buttigieg said, according to the Washington Examiner. “It just kind of turns you against the system in general and then you’re more likely to want to vote to blow up the system, which could lead you to somebody like Bernie and it could lead you to somebody like Trump. That’s how we got where we are.”
Buttigieg then sought to contrast himself from Sanders, saying that while he “admired” the 77-year-old Democratic-socialist “many years” prior, “I don’t have the same views on everything that he does.” An 18-year-old Buttigieg lauded Sanders in a 2000 essay, winning the John F. Kennedy Presidential Museum and Library’s Profile in Courage Essay Contest award.
According to a RealClearPolitics poll, Sanders currently dwarfs Buttigieg 22.5% to 6% in the Iowa caucuses.
Buttigieg’s comparison comes after the small town mayor accused President Donald Trump of using “white guy identity politics” to drive a wedge between working and middle-class Americans.
In an interview with the Associated Press last Tuesday, Buttigieg claimed “Trumpism” would long-lasting negative consequences on the United States. “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,” he said. “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.”
Buttigieg officially launched his 2020 campaign in South Bend on Sunday, pledging to usher in “a new generation of leadership.” Buttigieg’s campaign announced earlier April that it raised more than $7 million in the first three months of 2019.