Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, slammed fellow Democrats during a recent interview for their "condescension" toward supporters of President Donald Trump, saying the party lost in 2016 because it abandoned voters in the middle of the country.
Buttigieg, a 2020 presidential candidate, appeared on the liberal podcast "Pod Save America" on Friday with host Dan Pfeiffer, who formerly served in the Obama administration. Buttigieg discussed ways the Democratic Party can reach out and appeal to voters who supported Trump over Hillary Clinton in 2016.
"Indiana has probably moved as much in one direction as any state over the last 11 years," Pfeiffer said. "Barack Obama wins in 2008. Don Trump won it by 19 points, I believe, in 2016. Do you have a theory about what happened there? The same people, right?"
"I mean part of it is the kind of, in my view, sort of abandonment of the middle of the country by our party. And I think that’s got to be reversed. I think we learned the hard way what happens when you do that, " Buttigieg said. "So you know, investing time and resources matters."
Buttigieg said the Democrats have made several mistakes on their side of the aisle, especially when it comes to the attitude Democrats on the coasts have exhibited toward voters in midwestern states. He said many voters who supported Trump didn't necessarily support him because they had illusions about his character, but because they wanted to "burn the house down" in retaliation for the Democratic Party's abandonment.
"I hear the condescension thing all the time," Pfeiffer said. "We're sitting here on the coast. Is there an example of that?"
Buttigieg suggested patronizing Democrats have failed to acknowledge people choose their candidate based on a multitude of factors.
"You know, a liberal lawyer from Los Angeles walks up to a guy in Indiana who’s a working class guy and says, ‘you’re voting against your economic interests.' You know what that guy’s gonna say back? ‘So are you, fuck off.’ You know, I mean, yeah. People understand that there’s more to their vote than economics," Buttigieg said. "And there’s a lot of different reasons why people make those choices. So, you know, telling people that they’re voting against their own interests, thinking that we will reach across the aisle to defeat Trump by informing voters who supported him that they were complicit in a crime is not a very convincing way to reach people."