Adding to a historically diverse field among Democratic hopefuls, out gay Mayor Pete Buttigieg [say: BUDDHA-jedge], who has served South Bend, Indiana, for eight years, has announced he has formed an exploratory committe to run for president in 2020.
Buttigieg could win the Democratic nomination, Five Thirty Eight argues, so don't write him off as too gay to nab it. Five Thirty Eight goes on to address Buttigieg's actual positions, noting that he is harder to pin down than someone who has been more broadly in public life, such as Sen. Kamala Harris, who was a prosector and A.G., and therefore has more of an ideological trail. Five Thirty Eight writes:
At this point, it’s hard to pinpoint where Buttigieg falls on an ideological spectrum, but we do know he’s pushed to raise minimum wages and supports Medicare for All. If the Sanders campaign were to fail to launch or falter, Buttigieg could find an opening. Just as Sanders ran on a platform focused on economic populism and working-class revival, Buttigieg can and will point to the role he played in leading South Bend’s Rust Belt transformation (you can already see the theme in his announcement video).
Buttigieg wrote a prize-winning essay at age 18 about Bernie Sanders (guy's been around a long time!). Now, Buttigieg — at 37 — would be an appealingly youthful figure in the rapidly ballooning Democratic field.
Buttigieg's long introductory letter posted today in conjunction with the news:
The show in Washington right now is exhausting: the corruption, the fighting, the lying, the sense of constant crisis… it has to end. But we can’t just revert to where we were a few years ago, trying to tinker with a broken system. This is a season for boldness, and we need to focus on the future.
This is my eighth and final year as Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Over the last decade, our community has seen extraordinary changes, going from a city written off as “dying” to one that stands as living proof that the industrial Midwest can create a better future by leaving aside nostalgia and resentment, solving problems to help bring everyone a better everyday life.
Time and again, South Bend has beaten the odds and the expectations. But now I am worried about our country -- especially for members of my generation.
What will America look like in 2054, when I reach the age of the current president? How will we look back on 2020?
My generation is the generation that experienced school shootings beginning when I was in high school, the generation that fought in the post 9/11 wars, the first generation to have to deal with the reality of climate change, and the first generation not to be better off than our parents materially -- if nothing changes.
Only a forward focus -- untethered from the politics of the past and anchored by our shared values -- can change our national politics and our nation’s future.
We value freedom knowing it means more than cutting regulation: you’re not free if you can’t sue a credit card company that gets caught ripping you off, or walk down the street without being profiled on the basis of your skin color, or marry the person you love.
We value security knowing it means more than what goes on at the border: it requires real strategies for 21st-century threats like cybersecurity, election security, and climate security.
And we value our democracy, the foundation of our national life, that is under attack from hostile foreign powers and from cynical political tactics. That’s why our democracy must be defended and broadened, with real and bold reforms.
I am aware of the odds we would face if we proceed to mount a national campaign. But I am exploring this run because I can offer a different experience and perspective than anyone else. And I believe that at a moment like this, underdog campaigns will go further than the establishment would normally allow, when it comes to bold ideas that can truly meet the threats and opportunities coming our way.
I am looking forward to discussing and developing these ideas in the coming weeks. Simply put, I will need your help.
You have been there for me in the past, as I sought to bring needed change to our hometown and to our party. Now I ask you to join me in exploring what new leadership could mean for the country we love.