For those who follow horse racing, an “also-ran” is a horse that ran the race but did not win, place, or show in the final standings, when all bets are made good. To turn a phrase, they “also ran.” They were not winners. Only participants in the competition.
This may be the fate that awaits Pete Buttigieg, and the one he truly deserves.
Why do I say this now? If the post-debate commentary was any indication, Mayor Pete did not have a breakthrough moment. This in effect became another setback, and if it continues, may mean that Buttigieg is destined for the also rans.
The lack of media attention reflects Buttigieg’s inability to connect with debate viewers or the third estate.
The only exception: his scolding of his Democratic colleague, Julian Castro.
Even the Buttigieg Brand Appreciators were a little taken back when he admonished Castro for attacking Biden by saying, "This is why presidential debates are becoming unwatchable, This reminds everybody of what they cannot stand about Washington — scoring points against each other, poking at each other …”
This lack of finesse and interpersonal “know-how” about how to rally potential voters is seen continually in the Buttigieg campaign. And it may be why he may need a campaign sabbatical to contemplate whether he presently has what it takes to “close the deal” before wasting any more time and loyal supporter money.
It’s not just Buttigieg's performance at last week’s debate that has alienated voters. His personal appearances on the campaign trail are replete with overreactions and anger toward those he disagrees.
In a recent interview, answering a question about climate change, Buttigieg seemed to point fingers rather than offer solutions. "From using a straw to eating a burger, am I part of the problem? In a certain way, yes," Buttigieg asked rhetorically, speaking about the need to rally voters.
If there is one thing Hillary Clinton taught candidates, it’s not to criticize people whose votes you may need at one point in the future.
In one radio interview, Mayor Pete seemed to say that Kevin Hart may not have been genuine when he dismissed rapper Lil Nas X's announcement that he was gay as no big deal.
On “SharpieGate,” the hulabaloo over President Trump and the Hurricane Dorian forecast, Buttigieg described the president’s actions as “literally pathetic.” Perhaps someone should remind the Mayor that this may not be the way to woo the large number of independents who voted for Trump.
In another, Buttigieg took on centuries of theology and philosophy and weighed in on abortion, contending the Bible suggests that “life begins with breath.” Yes, Pete, let’s take on the Catholic Church and moral scholars of every religion so that more potential voters have issues with your position on the issues.
And the proverbial last straw and a real eye-roller: Buttigieg’s claim that he, and not Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders, can bring Americans together.
Is there no wonder why Buttigieg’s poll numbers have reached a 4.8 ceiling?
These are missteps that in a normal presidential campaign cycle would be disqualifiers. However, in this year of anything goes, Buttigieg is still holding on. The question is, for how long?
In some way, Buttigieg comes off as the new angry man.
Being angry is somewhat acceptable with an older candidate. However, it is less attractive in younger ones. If Buttigieg is not careful, this may be the attribute that sticks. This does not bode well for his desire to become president.
The future can be bright for Buttigieg if only he handles his anger and becomes a more likable candidate. This will broaden his appeal.
Once Buttigieg and his campaign realize this simple fact, only then will they have a fighting chance to win the nomination. And of course, if they do, it will be because they understand it is always easier when you have marketing and branding in mind.
Dr. John Tantillo is a marketing and branding expert, known as The Marketing Doctor. JT utilizes his doctoral skills in applied research psychology to analyze the issues and personalities of the day utilizing his marketing and branding lens. This provides his readers with additional insight needed to understand the “new normal” in politics, news, and culture. Dr. Tantillo is the OpEd writer for Political Vanguard. He is the author of "People Buy Brands, Not Companies,” and the Udemy course "Go Brand Yourself!" You can follow him on Twitter @marketingdoctor and at Facebook.com/dr.johntantillo. To read more of his reports — Click Here Now.
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