Divides between Democrats vying to challenge President Donald Trump in the 2020 election were laid bare in a combative debate Wednesday, as the campaign’s rising star Pete Buttigieg acknowledged he faced challenges in attracting black voters.
Buttigieg, the contest’s youngest candidate who occupies the same moderate lane as frontrunner Joe Biden, offered a unifying message as a way to bring Democrats and Republicans toward a broad political middle.
Democrats can seize a majority on issues like immigration and guns “if we can galvanize, not polarize that majority,” Buttigieg told the debate in Georgia.
But after an opening phase dominated by talk of impeachment of Trump, participants in the fifth Democratic debate locked horns over the costly universal health care program supported by liberal senators Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders.
Buttigieg and former vice president Biden also took aim at the trillion-dollar reform, saying it would be wiser to build on existing Obamacare and provide a public option.
Biden leads in national polling, followed by Warren and Sanders. But Buttigieg has cracked into the top tier in the past month, and now tops the polls in Iowa which stages the first nomination contest in February.