Mayor Buttigieg: The Word Socialist Has Lost Its Power

By Melanie Arter | February 11, 2019 | 2:44pm EST
South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg (Screenshot)

( - South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg, who announced his candidacy for president, told CNN’s “State of the Union with Jake Tapper” on Sunday that the word socialism has lost its power, especially the way it was used characterize Obamacare.

Buttigieg was asked whether he’s worried that President Donald Trump’s comment during the State of the Union address that “America will never be a socialist country” is an effective attack against Democrats.

“I think he's clinging to a rhetorical strategy that was very powerful when he was coming of age 50 years ago, but it's just a little bit different right now. I know, if you grew up during that Cold War period, then you saw a time in politics when the word socialism could be used to end an argument. Today, I think a word like that is the beginning of a debate, not the end of the debate,” Buttigieg said.


“Look, America is committed to democracy, and we're essentially a market-based economy, but you can no longer simply kill off a line of discussion about a policy by saying that it's socialist. If someone my age or younger is weighing a policy idea, and somebody comes along and says, you can't do that, it's socialist, I think our answer is going to be, OK, is it a good idea or is it not?” he said.

“And that word has also lost its power, especially when you think about the way it was applied to characterize, for example, the ACA, an idea that was invented at the conservative--

“The Affordable Care Act, yes,” host Jake Tapper said.

“The Affordable Care Act, Obamacare, invented by a conservative think tank, relying on market principles, implemented first by a Republican governor, and they said that was socialist. So, I think the word has mostly lost its meaning, and it's certainly lost its ability to be used as a kill switch on debate,” Buttigieg said.


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