Pete Buttigieg (Boot-edge-dge), mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has announced he is running for President of the United States in 2020. I must admit that I have a personal affection for him simply because he is the mayor of South Bend, home of Notre Dame, my favorite college (sorry Penn State, Go Irish!).
I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future. Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 23, 2019
Mayor Pete, as he is known in South Bend, is an incredibly interesting candidate regardless of how far-fetched his candidacy may be. He is a 37 year old, two-term mayor of a city with a population of 100,000 people. With that, he also served in Afghanistan, and was in the Navy from 2009 to 2014, and is still in the reserves as a Lieutenant today. He is the youngest person running, and if elected, would be the youngest person ever elected to the Presidency.
Thus, as you’d expect, he has been asked a lot what makes him qualified to become President, and his answer is both compelling and satirical. He says “I not only have more years of government experience than the president of the United States, but I have more years of executive experience than the vice president of the United States, and more wartime experience than anybody who arrived in the office since George H.W. Bush”.
Even beyond all of that, he does bring something that no one has ever has in a Presidential election; he is the first openly gay Presidential candidate in American history. He announced his sexuality during his 2015 reelection campaign for Mayor, and has since gotten married to his husband Chasten.
He is also a millennial, and that is a massive part of his pitch in his early campaign stops in Iowa and New Hampshire. He frequently discusses the fact that he was in high school when Columbine happened, and his generation have seen the increase in “school shooter drills”. He also talks about how his generation supplied all of the troops for the wars in the Middle East, and will be on the receiving end of climate change, yet they still have very little representation in Washington.
He wants to change that, along with much of the status quo.
He has made headlines as the first candidate to openly consider the idea of court packing. When asked at a town hall about the idea he said “It’s no more a departure from norms than what the Republicans did to get the judiciary to where it is today”. He is referring to Republicans, specifically Mitch McConnell, blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee Merick Garland, and removing the 60 vote threshold required to confirm Supreme Court nominees altogether.
Many democrats have been discussing adding seats to counter what Republicans infamously did to get the court to a right leaning bend, and as a broader to point to stop having Democrats play by a different set of rules than Republicans. For so long Republicans have done extraordinary things to thwart and destroy democracy and when Democrats are in power they take the moral high ground and don’t do the same back. Many democrats are sick and tired of that and Pete Buttigieg seems to be with them.
Mayor Pete is also in the progressive lane of the Democratic Party. He is in favor of a single-payer healthcare system, guaranteeing healthcare for every single citizen. He supports universal background checks for every gun purchase, supports the Paris Climate Accords, and believes climate change is a real national security threat. He supports a constitutional amendment to overturn the Citizens United case, and a federal non-discrimination amendment.
These seem like, and are very liberal policies. Which brings into question how he won in Indiana with 80% of the vote. As he explains consistently, he believes people are ready to look towards the future and not the past. Look for and invest in new fields, like clean energy, and support innovation. He repeats that South Bend was predicted to fall apart at the beginning of this decade, and he helped turn it into a dooming industrial midwestern economy. He believes America is at its best when it thinks big, supports one another, and sets its eyes forward and strives to become greater rather than dwelling on the politics of the past that have gotten into the hole we are in today.