Las Vegas – Peter Buttigieg described Bernie Sanders and Michael Bloomberg as “polarizing” during this week’s fiery Democratic debate in Las Vegas. On Friday, the former South Bend mayor said in an interview with CBS News that “we are going to be in so much trouble as a country if the only options we are presenting people appear to be somebody who wants to buy the party out and somebody who wants to burn it down.”

In the first two nominating contests, Buttigieg came out of the Iowa caucuses with the most delegates and came in second in New Hampshire. Sanders led the popular vote in both contests, while Bloomberg was not on the ballot in those states. 

Buttigieg said Sanders “is the front-runner right now, by many measures.”

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“I’m the only candidate who has beaten him at all and that was by the slimmest of margins in the delegate count in Iowa,” Buttigieg said. 

“We need to ask ourselves as a party whether we want that to be how we compete against Donald Trump or whether there’s a better way.”

“I’m offering a better way,” he said, on the eve of the Nevada caucuses

The nominating contest in Nevada is a high-stakes day for all the candidates, since the state is far more diverse than the previous two nominating contests and could provide a better picture into how a Democratic candidate could fare nationally.

Bernie Sanders has been leading polls in the state.

Buttigieg said it’s “not his place” to tell other campaigns if they should drop out if they don’t reach viability in Nevada. But, he said, the campaign considers “Nevada to be a very important state on the road ahead through South Carolina and on into Super Tuesday, and also we got to wake up to the reality that we could be just a week and a half away from Bernie Sanders having a dominating lead in this progress and even though he’s got a very strong basis of support, that’s clearly not what most Democrats want.”

Buttigieg warned that most Democrats don’t want to “wake up on Wednesday morning, after Super Tuesday, where between them Mike Bloomberg and Bernie Sanders have built in insurmountable advantage in this race.”

Earlier Friday, Bloomberg said his company had identified three women who had nondisclosure agreements with the company and would release them from the agreements if they asked. Buttigieg said “it’s hard to believe” that would be enough.

But, he added, “do we really want to spend that next few months leading up to the election arguing over which billionaire created a worse environment for women? I think we can do a lot better and I think part of that is nominating an actual Democrat to the Democratic nomination.”

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