Pete Buttigieg, who looks to be the best of the contenders still in the race for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination, told the party's voters this week, "This is our one chance to beat Donald Trump. We have only one chance." He knows it's vital this repugnant presidency is ended by vote, not by the constitutional limit on presidential terms in four years' time.
If Trump is re-elected in November it will not just mean four more years of the damage he is doing to America, by 2024 the progress the world was making until 2017 will be largely forgotten and Democrats, as well as Republicans, will be resigned to the way their country has been re-ordered.
But not many presidents have been denied a second term. If they have stoked up the economy with low tax and high budget deficits, they have only one thing to fear – the emergence of an impressive new political leader.
Buttigieg presents a contrast to Trump in almost every conceivable way: he is young, bright, pleasant, moderate and modern. He has also done military service, paid tax and seeks the presidency with some experience of elected office, if only the mayoralty of a small city. He is a year younger than Jacinda Ardern and along with Canada's Justin Trudeau and France's Emmanuel Macron, his election would confirm a new generation is in power.
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Typical of his generation he is not looking for a job for life. A profile in The Economist last week noted that in the 13 years since he graduated from Oxford he has had three careers, first a financial analyst at McKinsey, then a Naval reservist who volunteered for a tour in Afghanistan, finally eight years as mayor of his hometown, South Bend, Indiana.
The son of professors at nearby Notre Dame university, he is a polymath who speaks Spanish, Norwegian and Arabic, among other languages. It is said he can discuss philosophy with the learned but, as evident on television, he can also express himself in terms that are clear, concise and compelling.
And he is married to a man. That might not be the problem it once would have been. America has broken the mould of people it puts in the White House. In 2008 it elected its first black President and re-elected him in 2012. In 2016 a woman won its popular vote, losing in the electoral college to an outrageous entertainer whose stated intentions, supporters said, should not be taken literally.
On the debate stage in South Carolina this week, Buttigieg, 38, was standing alongside Senators Elizabeth Warren, 70, Bernie Sanders, 78, and former Vice-President Joe Biden, 77. As the septuagenarians bickered and scrapped, Buttigieg looked more mature than any of them.
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The first primaries are held in less populous states to let party supporters assess candidates face-to-face. Buttigieg won the most delegates in Iowa and ran a close second to Sanders in New Hampshire. But in Nevada last weekend, Sanders won comprehensively, prompting Buttigieg's warning that this election is the party's only chance to beat Trump.
The South Carolina primary this weekend is expected to be Biden's. If he does not win it his campaign has probably finished. But the crunch for all of them comes next Wednesday, "Super Tuesday" in America, when 14 states across the country vote simultaneously. Sanders, alarmingly, could do quite well.
Sanders, said Buttigieg, does not reflect the views of most Democrats, let alone most Americans. He would be far to the left in New Zealand politics. He would ban private health insurance, make tertiary education free and forgive unpaid student loans. He promises every American a job if they need one, in federal government projects.
He would require nearly half the directors of listed companies to be elected by their staff, and put 2 per cent of their stock in a staff trust every year until 20 per cent of the company is owned by its employees.
He proposes to pay for all of his largesse with punitive new taxes on "billionaires" but since the cost of his promises would run into trillions he would send the federal budget into even deeper deficits than Trump is running.
Sanders' policies closely resemble those of Jeremy Corbyn, which did not turn out well for Britain's Labour Party. Like Corbyn, Sanders is an old man with a legion of supporters too young to have seen the 20th century. In Buttigieg, they have a better choice.
It is a pity he has had to point out what it will take to beat Trump because Buttigieg has been conspicuously better than his rivals at ignoring Trump. It may have been his youth that made him seem genuinely not much interested in the incumbent. He was looking ahead, where a new President needs to be.