Pete Buttigieg, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and a Democratic 2020 presidential hopeful, hailed this week’s election results in Virginia and Kentucky, where Democrats won close elections in traditionally Republican areas.
“I’ve always said there’s no such thing as a permanently red state,” he told PBS NewsHour anchor and managing editor Judy Woodruff in an interview Wednesday. He called the “encouraging” results a rejection of President Donald Trump. “What it tells you is that a lot of people, including people in the habit of voting Republican, are fed up with what the Republican Party is doing right now, in particular its embrace of a president who goes against every value, progressive and conservative, that we used to count on from either party,” he said.
Other highlights from the interview:
- On health care: Buttigieg defended his health care plan, which critics have slammed for not providing universal coverage. ”We don’t need to spend tens of trillions of dollars to solve this problem.” He said his plan, which allows people to buy into Medicare, would be markedly less expensive than Medicare for All” plans. “It has the advantage of trusting Americans to make their own decisions, but it also has the major advantage of costing 1.5 trillion dollars, which of course is still an awful lot of money, but it is fully paid for, it’s fundable without having to go into the more challenging and controversial math that is being used to explain a plan that is 20 or 30 trillion or more, depending on who you ask,” he said.
- On taxes: Buttigieg said he would be releasing more detailed tax plans in the coming months, but specifically called for a rollback of the corporate rate portion of the Trump tax cuts, “tax cuts that mostly went to line the pockets of those who didn’t need help.”
- On impeachment: Buttigieg said he does not hear much about the drama in Congress on the campaign trail. “Most of the questions I get are about things like health care. And whether we’re going to be able to grow opportunity. Overcoming racial inequality, serving rural America, making sure prescription drug costs are under control — but it is on people’s minds, as it must be. There’s no escaping it, there’s no ignoring it.”