On the 2020 campaign trail: Buttigieg not the answer

Democrats are scrambling to figure out which candidate of theirs has the best chance at beating President Donald Trump. For some, the answer is pushing a moderate candidate who steals Republican votes from Trump. Others suggest that attack dogs like Senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders can embarrass Trump’s fanbase with policy debate. Either way, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is not the answer.

Buttigieg’s policy ideas are subpar and do not go far enough to fix problems in America. His lack of experience as well as his mayoral scandals show incompetence and his debate style will most certainly hand Trump his second term.

The “Medicare for all who want it” slogan that Buttigieg proudly shows off makes absolutely no sense. His plan aligns somewhat with Vice President Joe Biden’s plan. Both plans claim to emphasize “choice” while failing to tackle lack of coverage for the choices people do have now.

On Buttigieg’s website, his healthcare plan claims to improve healthcare by demanding that insurance companies compete for better care. He claims that care for disabled seniors will go down with universal healthcare, but Warren and Sanders’ plans include disability care as well as mental health services, treatment for substance abuse and more. In fact, NBC estimates that about 30 million people are without healthcare and Buttigieg’s plan does nothing to ensure that these people are covered.

Another issue that plagues the world is climate change – Buttigieg acts like climate change is hardly an issue compared to most of his opponents. Nearly all Democratic candidates agree that America should reach net-zero carbon emissions by 2050. Sanders also proposes 100 percent renewable energy for transportation and electricity by 2030. Even Senator Amy Klobuchar, a more moderate candidate than Buttigieg, has a climate change plan with at least three times more steps than Buttigieg’s.

The last policy mistake of Buttigieg is his silence on college tuition costs. Sanders and Warren list college tuition as one of the most important issues on their websites but Buttigieg tucks the issue into the vague category “higher education and workforce development.”

Students are weighed down by college debt and Buttigieg proposes no bold plan to relieve the country of this financial burden. Even Biden, possibly the most conservative Democratic candidate, has a similarly flimsy plan for college debt.

Perhaps these moderate policies aren’t objectionable enough. Many unsure voters hesitate to vote for expensive-sounding plans or candidates with too much experience on Capitol Hill. However, Buttigieg is the greater evil in this case for two reasons.

Firstly, Buttigieg lacks any major experience in a field where relationships in Congress and the military significantly increase the ability to pass bills or appoint the right people to life-or-death positions. With his only political experience being eight years of mayorship, Buttigieg faces serious competition when it comes to his political outreach. Many Democratic candidates have been accruing knowledge and relationships for well over half their lifetimes.

Secondly, Buttigieg still struggles to defend his handling of racism during his time as mayor of South Bend, Ind. During the ABC News New Hampshire debate, anchor Lindsey Davis pushed Buttigieg to answer why South Bend had an inflated racial disparity in regards to marijuana arrests. Buttigieg was unable to give a straightforward answer.

In addition, Buttigieg has a shaky history with the police of South Bend. According to New York Times writer Matt Stevens, Buttigieg was “pressured by federal prosecutors” to fire the black police chief when white officers were caught on phone calls making racist remarks about the police chief.

Considering the lack of energizing policy and experience as well as the poor handling of racism in South Bend, Buttigieg does not deserve the immense praise he is receiving. Democrats who prefer establishment-friendly moderates should detest Buttigieg’s lack of experience, and Democrats who enjoy bold policy ideas should be turned off by Buttigieg’s uncreative plans.

Karen Larionova ’23 is from Eden Prairie, Minn. Her major is undecided.

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