Mayor Peter Buttigieg, of South Bend, Indiana, who launched a presidential exploratory committee in January, said in an interview with Jake Tapper broadcast on Sunday that President Donald Trump appears to be using Cold War rhetoric, RealClearPolitics reports.
Buttigieg’s comments were in reference to President Donald Trump’s State of the Union declaration that the United States will “never be a socialist country.”
“Today, I think a word like that (socialism) is the beginning of a debate, not the end of a debate,” the young Democrat said.
Buttigieg argued that the word “socialist” has lost its meaning and that it can no longer be used as a scare word. The younger generation, suggested the South Bend mayor, no longer reacts to such provocations. Rather, the young generation of politicians is focused on policy — whether a proposal is good or not — and not obsessed with labels.
“You can no longer simply kill off a line of discussion about a policy by saying that it’s socialist,” he said.
To prove his point, Buttigieg explained that the Affordable Care Act — best known as Obamacare — was invented by a conservative think tank and first implemented by Republicans, and yet the American right-wing smeared it — and continues to smear it — as a socialist policy.
“I think the word has mostly lost its meaning,” he opined.
According to the South Bend mayor and potential Democratic presidential candidate, what President Donald Trump is doing is using an ancient, Cold War smear to end an argument. That is why the president’s strategy is not working, according to the Democrat.
“I think he’s clinging to a rhetorical strategy that was very powerful when he was coming of age 50 years ago, but it’s just a little different right now.”
Tapper and Buttigieg — who will be the youngest person ever to run for president of the United States, if he runs — discussed age in the context of politics. Tapper asked Buttigieg whether he thinks politicians older than 70 should even run for president, and the South Bend mayor explained that both older and younger voters are interested in change, older voters even more so.
“The only group more interested in generational change than the youngest voters I met were the voters who are about my parents’ age,” he said.
Policies that are considered socialist in the United States, and promoted by the likes of Bernie Sanders, appear to be overwhelmingly popular. Writing about the progressive wing of the Democratic Party, Reuters noted that polls indicate that the vast majority of Americans support allegedly socialist policies, such as universal healthcare and free college.