Buttigieg, far more than Biden, has the youth and vigor to command the party for the next generation. And this makes him the graver threat to those arguing for a socialist revolution.
…He initially proposed radical government reforms such as packing the Supreme Court and removing the filibuster, but now he’s recast himself as a moderate unifier. As a result, the left sees him as not just any moderate, but as a moderate masquerading as a wunderkind grassroots progressive. …For the young left, political moderation might be a misdemeanor; but eloquent moderation donning the costume of progressive activism is first-degree phoniness that merits the punishment of crude criticism.
…[Buttigieg’s] candidacy violates a certain unwritten law of U.S. electoral politics. American voters have historically appreciated candidates who, from a socioeconomic perspective, identify “down”: Franklin D. Roosevelt was a traitor to the upper class; Trump is the real-estate billionaire who speaks for coal miners; Bernie Sanders is the septuagenarian senator who rallies the young left. But there’s not a deep history of successful candidates who appeared to identify “up,” like a young, nonmillionaire, small-town mayor who aligns himself with cosmopolitan capital. Identifying down can be a proxy for authenticity, but identifying up invites accusations of inauthenticity.
…The diverse and angry and hyper-educated Millennial-and-Gen-Z cohort are a rising power on the cusp of a potentially seismic moment in American political history, and their most successful representative is a candidate who, it turns out, doesn’t really represent them.