Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg said at a Des Moines rally Tuesday night that his party needs to spend more time talking about issues where Republicans have traditionally controlled the message.
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, spoke to an estimated crowd of 1,600 people spread across the lawn outside the former Benjamin Franklin Middle School. Buttigieg said Democrats should outline how their progressive views on issues like national security and freedom are different.
“(Republicans) think government’s the only thing that can make you unfree,” he said. "We know better. We know your neighbor can make you unfree. We know your cable company can make you unfree if you let them.”
Buttigieg said freedom can also come from stronger regulations on health care companies and the gun industry.
One of the most pressing threats to national security in the United States is climate change, Buttigieg said, adding that he thinks the solution should include a tax on carbon emissions in addition to more spending on energy efficiency and research.
“The important thing about the carbon tax is not to take money out of the economy,” he said. “It’s to make sure that the pricing of things that have a long term cost is actually reflected in the price you see.”
Anti-gay protesters interrupted the speech twice. After they were escorted out of the rally Buttigieg, who is gay, pointed out that everyone gets a vote. “You know, the good news is the condition of my soul is up to God but the Iowa caucuses are up to you.”
This was the first trip Buttigieg made through the state since becoming an official presidential candidate. Eighteen Democrats have officially announced their candidacy.