Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg reacted to Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders’ victory in the Nevada caucuses Saturday by pleading with Democrats against rushing to nominate the democratic socialist, suggesting doing so could prevent them from defeating President Trump.
“Senator Sanders believes in an inflexible, ideological revolution that leaves out most Democrats, not to mention most Americans,” the former South Bend, Ind., mayor said in a speech in Las Vegas.
The comments come after Buttigieg and Sanders nearly tied in Iowa and after Sanders won the New Hampshire primary. Fox News projects Sanders will win in Nevada.
“Before we rush to nominate Senator Sanders as our one shot to take on this president… let’s take a sober look at the consequences — for our party, for our values, and for those with the most at stake,” Buttigieg said.
Buttigieg is seeking to establish himself as Sanders’ chief rival, as establishment Democrats fret over the possibility that Sanders may not be able to be stopped on his path to the Democratic nomination.
“I believe we need to defeat Trump and turn the page on this era in our politics by establishing a tone of belonging, bringing an end to the viciousness and the bullying that is tearing apart the country,” Buttigieg added. “Senator Sanders’ revolution has the tenor of combat, division, and polarization, a vision where whoever wins the day, nothing will change the toxic tone of our politics.”
Referencing Sanders, Buttigieg said: “We can prioritize either ideological purity or inclusive victory.”
“I believe the only way to truly deliver any of the progressive changes we care about is to be a nominee who actually gives a damn about the effect you are having, from the top of the ticket, on those crucial, front-line House and Senate Democrats running to win, who we need to win, to make sure our agenda is more than just words on a page,” he said.
Speaking to supporters in San Antonio, Texas, where he is campaigning ahead of the Super Tuesday contests, Sanders celebrated his win by boasting of putting together “a multigenerational, multiracial coalition.”
“We just won the Nevada caucus. This grassroots movement is unstoppable,” Sanders tweeted. “Together, let’s win the Democratic nomination, defeat Trump and transform the country!”