As former Vice President Joe Biden (D-DE) and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT) start to fade in the 2020 Democrat primary, Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) has been enjoying a bit of a surge among Democrat primary voters.

Recent polls and impressive fundraising, however, suggest that South Bend, Indiana mayor Pete Buttigieg is quickly rising as a potential threat to Warren’s bid for the Democrat nomination.

Indeed, Buttigieg is predicting that the race is shaping into a “two-way” between himself and Warren.

Newsweek reports:

South Bend, Indiana Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said in a new interview that he believes the race for his party’s nomination will be between Senator Elizabeth Warren and himself.

In a clip from Showtime’s The Circus, Buttigieg told co-host John Heilemann: “I think this is getting to be a two-way. It’s early to say, I’m not saying that it is a two-way. A world where we’re getting somewhere is where it’s coming down to the two of us.”

. . . Buttigieg believes believes that he and Warren stand out among the other candidates. “The contrasts are real,” he said. “They’re substantive, respectful policy contrasts, but they’re real.”

Heilemann asked if Buttigieg “accepts the notion that it’s Warren against the field. Someone is trying to become the alternative to Warren.” Buttigieg agreed: “It’s shaping up that way.”

Buttigieg also told Heilemann that he’s not worried about former Vice President Joe Biden in the race. “Either he is the unstoppable front-runner,” he said, “and we can all go home, or he is not.” The candidate then added: “Anybody who’s in this race is pure on the assumption that he’s not.”

Despite some bizarre statements, questionable policy positions, and awkward efforts to engage in a one-way feud with Vice President Mike Pence, Buttigieg is positioning himself as the “not crazy” one. This shouldn’t be difficult to do given the radical, fringe elements in the Democrat primary clown car, but he’s not come under any real scrutiny.  Yet.

For now, he’s trying to take over the “center” lane that Biden is fast losing.

The New York Times opines:

For now, former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. is being eclipsed by Mayor Pete Buttigieg, of South Bend, Ind., a Midwestern mayor less than half his age who has captured the energy of those looking for the party to move in a more centrist direction. Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont has seen much of the message that boosted him to political fame in the 2016 primary contest co-opted by Senator Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts.

. . . .  Yet, amid a field that once numbered two dozen, it is Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg who have emerged as coveted fresh faces, riding a surge of momentum. Both have been rising for months — Mr. Buttigieg from the obscurity of leading a community of 100,000 people and Ms. Warren from early campaign missteps highlighted by her ill-fated decision to release a DNA test designed to combat charges that she exaggerated her Native American ancestry.

With three months to go, the emergence of Ms. Warren and Mr. Buttigieg has confirmed that the race is entering a new phase, as Mr. Biden struggles to retain momentum and Mr. Sanders attempts to expand his base beyond his core supporters.

This idea of Buttigieg representing a new generation and a new path for the future is something that Buttigieg is quick to capitalize on as he campaigns.

Simultaneously, he is also reaching back and embracing Obama and his policies, while consciously attempting to also recapture the Obama enthusiasm.

The South Bend Tribune reports:

Buttigieg is increasingly invoking the image of Obama — another early presidential long shot who built surprising momentum and offered a message of hope. Last week, for example, the Buttigieg campaign sent out a fundraising email from Larry Grisolano, a “senior messaging advisor” who held a similar position for then-Sen. Obama in 2007.

“Pete’s campaign this year is rekindling the same excitement I felt at this time in 2007,” Grisolano says in the pitch, before describing how Obama electrified a crowd in Des Moines at the same event Buttigieg would address Friday night.

“It was the moment that changed everything for the Obama campaign and, ultimately, for the country. That same moment for Pete, and for America, is this Friday night.”

At the event, the Liberty and Justice Celebration dinner in Des Moines, Buttigieg referenced his campaigning for Obama in Iowa in 2007.

“The first time I came to this state was as a volunteer to knock on doors for a presidential candidate, a young man with a funny name,” Buttigieg told the crowd. “And we knew the stakes were high then.The stakes are colossal now.”

As he positions himself as Obama 2.0, Buttigieg is also embracing a variation on Obama’s “no red states, no blue states” attempt to espouse unity while on the campaign trail.  Of course, Obama’s promise was empty, and his presidency incredibly divisive, but Buttigieg wants us to forget these pesky facts.

The Chicago Tribune reports:

The Iowa Democratic Party’s fall fundraising dinner long has been a critical measuring stick for presidential candidates in the lead-up to the state’s first-in-the-nation caucuses, gauging both their ability to give inspiring speeches and to demonstrate strong grassroots support.

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg had a strong night on both fronts, bringing the largest pack of supporters to an arena filled with thousands of Democrats for a polished speech in which he offered the “hope of an American experience defined not by exclusion, but by belonging.”

“I will not waver from my commitment to our values or back down from the boldness of our ideas,” Buttigieg told the boisterous crowd of party officials, activists and campaign organizers. “But I also will not tire from the effort to include everyone in this future we are trying to build — progressives, moderates and Republicans of conscience who are ready for change. The time has come.”

. . . . The 37-year-old candidate’s night in Des Moines helped his momentum and further elevated what started earlier this year as a long-shot campaign. That was matched, however, by an equally effective showing by the front-running Warren, who contended the brand of moderate politics practiced by Buttigieg and Biden don’t go far enough to fight for working families.

“We need big ideas and — here’s the critical part — we need to be willing to fight for them,” Warren said. “It’s easy to give up on a big idea, but when we give up on big ideas, we give up on the people whose lives would be touched by those ideas.”

Warren and her “big ideas” may have met their match in the young mayor from the heartland, however, as once the primary is over, the eventual Democrat nominee will have to win votes beyond the socialist/communist/progressive fringe base of that party.

Top Democrats, including the DNC, know this; that’s why Bernie was locked out in 2016 and why he doesn’t stand a chance of winning the Democrat nomination in 2020.

 
 
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