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Buttiegieg Talks Iran, Electoral Reform, Social Media on Campaign Trail

Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg this weekend questioned the White House strategy on Iran. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg this weekend questioned the White House strategy on Iran. (Gage Skidmore/Wikimedia Commons)
January 6, 2020

DES MOINES, Iowa -- With the Iowa caucuses less than a month away, Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is speaking out about some top-line issues for many Iowans: the possibility of war, and election reforms.

Buttigieg said President Trump's tweet about having "52 Iran targets, one for each hostage taken in 1979," probably won't keep the Iranians from seeking revenge for the U.S. decision to kill Qasem Soleimani, a top Iranian general. This weekend, Buttigieg, who served as a naval intelligence officer in Afghanistan, said there isn't a lot of confidence that the White House has thought things through.

"In a culture of martyrdom, it seems unlikely that that's much of a deterrent," Buttigieg said. "We've got to be smart; we've got to understand what we're up against. And we've got to think through not just the immediate, but the second- and third-order effects of anything that the United States does."

Buttigieg did not say whether he agrees with the decision to target Soleimani.

The candidate also talked about his many conversations with Iowa voters, who have asked how he plans to bring the country back together. He said he supports creating a national public service program that would offer paid positions as a way to create a national common experience.

Buttigieg also said he supports getting rid of the Electoral College and measures to make voting easier; noting, for example, limiting the polls to daytime hours on a Tuesday makes it hard for voters who may not have a car or who may have multiple jobs.

"I think real, smart, bold, constitutional and structural reforms are going to be needed for our system to be resilient into the 21st century," he said.

He also discussed the need to set up rules of the road for large social media companies, saying their corporate decisions effectively become public policy decisions, but aren't made through the democratic process.

Suzanne Potter, Public News Service - IA