Posted on

Joe Biden and Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s 2020 Cold War Suddenly Burns Hot

If there was ever a Biden-Buttigieg cold war, it just got hot. 

For months, former Vice President Joe Biden and South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg have avoided any major direct confrontation during the sporadic gloves-off skirmishes of the Democratic primary. Biden, the former chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, and Buttigieg, a veteran of the Afghanistan war, have each sought to make cogent commander-in-chief cases on the campaign trail—hardly ever at each other’s expense. 

But with just over a month until caucusing commences, the unpredictability of the political cycle has turned the notion of an inevitable winner upside down, with two of the leading contenders—a 77-year-old established politician and a 37-year-old Beltway neophyte—now on a collision course over one of their most powerful shared interests. 

The two men have markedly different approaches to highlighting contrasts with their rivals. Biden, who has reliably topped national polls since launching his campaign in April, tends to employ a simple approach: Stay (mostly) out of the fray; attack (mostly) only when attacked; and try, with varying degrees of success, to stick to the script.