South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg responded to concerns at the second Democratic debate on Tuesday that Democrats are drifting "too far to the left," arguing that Republicans will call them "crazy socialists" no matter what policy agenda they embrace.
"It's time to stop worrying about what the Republicans will say. It's true that we embrace a far left agenda, they're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialists. If we embrace a conservative agenda, you know what they're going to do? They're going to say we're a bunch of crazy socialist. Let's stand up for the right policy, go up there and defend it."
Why it matters: It's become clear over the course of the Democratic primary that President Trump and his Republican supporters are seeking to brand the candidates as "far-left socialists" over policies like Medicare for All and the Green New Deal, despite the fact that Sen. Bernie Sanders is the only candidate who identifies as a democratic socialist. Buttigieg's argument is that the field should not be concerned with labels, and that strong policies that the candidates are able to cogently explain to voters will transcend any right-wing marketing campaign.