This article was published on April 3rd, 2019
Over 30 Democrats have announced their candidacies, wanting a piece of the presidential pie in 2020. While it may seem like a confusing sea of Bernies, Betos, and baby boomers, there is one candidate who is making waves with his presidential quest. It’s time to introduce you to Pete Buttigieg: the openly gay candidate who could be the United States’ first queer and youngest president, ever, and why it’s important to have queer candidates.
As anyone can tell from the 2016 election in the United States: Americans can be fickle people who don’t vote with their best interests at heart. Less than a third of all eligible Americans vote in elections. There is a general disdain for government, and talking politics is just not something someone does in social settings due to unwanted and unwarranted triggering of folks with different mindsets.
Everyone seemingly has their personal favorite candidate du jour and have plenty of candidates out of the 30+ to consider. In this blurred mix of lefties, the country needs to successfully elect a candidate who is guaranteed to beat the President Trump and restore faith, credibility, and honor to the United States.
While his campaign has influenced every candidate running, Bernie might just be “too old” and “too white” to win the overall nomination. But there is an alternative to Bernie with similar values and progressive mindset, and that is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
The media’s current flavor of the week, this little-known politician has quickly emerged as a front runner in a race full of front runners. Polls put “Mayor Pete” in 3rdplace behind Sanders, and he is proving to be a formidable candidate worth listening to. Added bonus: Mayor Pete is an out, proud gay man and husband.
Where Bernie Sanders lacks is where Pete Buttigieg seemingly picks up the slack: the 37-year-old would be the youngest president in the country’s history, versus Bernie’s 77. 40 years is a huge gap and considering millennials will be the largest voting bloc in 2020. Ageism could affect both candidates positively and negatively.
While both candidates appear to be the polar opposites of Trump, it’s Buttigieg that has a few extra items on his resume that might beat out even Bernie. A two-term war veteran, Pete Buttigieg became mayor of and turned South Bend around, fiscally, in under 8 years from one of the most dilapidated and forgotten about regions of the country: The Rust Belt. He won nearly 80% of the vote, in a Trump city and district, as an out gay man. A recent story commenting on Pete’s random knowledge of the Norwegian langue simply because he wanted to read in Norwegian—paired with his knowledge of six other languages—puts Mayor Pete at the top of the pack with regards to him being the antithesis to the current president.
A Rhodes Scholar and head of his class at Harvard, Mayor Pete is smart, likeable, and seems to actually answer questions when asked.
Bobby, an out gay man who runs the Twitter account @LGBT4Pete and was inspired by the young politician to run, thinks it could be Pete who ends up occupying the White House in 2021: “I believe it could be. I teared up a little the other day thinking about his possible inauguration. I didn’t cry because I could see that day arrive. I cried because, for the first time, I believed it was possible at all. His historic campaign matters. Representation matters. That was enough to give money to his campaign.”
Millions of other people seem to feel the same way about the rising political star, Pete Buttigieg. After first quarter reports, Buttigieg raised over $7 million, without the 40-year name recognition of Sanders or spotlight politicians like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Beto, and Elizabeth Warren hold. While, it can be argued that women have been shafted this time around by the media, in terms of coverage, Mayor Pete, being the queer candidate, might be enough for on-the-fence voters to decide that he could be an alternative to the status quo and is not “just another white dude running”.
The only possible dark horses against Buttigieg are his stance against the clemency Barack Obama issued for Chelsea Manning: the veteran whistleblower who revealed the United States had been spying on its ally’s world leaders. He said he was “troubled” by then President Obama’s clemency for Manning, saying:
“I certainly agree that we’ve learned things about abuses and that one way or another that needed to come out, but in my view, the way for that to come out is through Congressional oversight, not through a breach of classified information.”
Most Americans seem split on this decision. Should a whistleblower be punished when it is revealing classified info that could hurt Americans as much as it helps them? Americans most certainly want and seek transparency with their government that is currently absent in politics of today.
Pete Buttigieg also been judged for the gentrification South Bend has undergone under his time as mayor. Proponents would argue that the man did what he could to save his floundering city. Are these two issues enough to sway voters from siding with him? Maybe, maybe not.
Meanwhile, Mayor Pete is a vocal advocate in his deeply red state for marriage equality and adoption rights, healthcare for all, supreme court reform, fighting climate change, and against the ban on transgender troops, for starters. He is a millennial in an ocean of baby boomer and older politicians trying to solidify himself as just as qualified and able bodied as his opponents—certainly more capable than Donald Trump, himself.
For now, at least, people are cozying up to a once-little-known Mayor with the no-longer-hard to pronounce surname, who happens to also be gay. The fact that his homosexuality comes up as item #9 or #10 afterhis glowing resume, should be something to celebrate. That, and having an über fabulous First Husband welcoming foreign dignitaries to the freshly painted Rainbow House sounds like every gay boy’s Cinderella story come to life.
He’s already reached 60,000 individual campaign donations, which qualified him for a position on the debate stage. Until then, all eyes are on the mayor from South Bend. Give ‘em hell, Pete Buttigieg, and here’s to you: Mayor, war veteran, lawyer, Christian, linguist, concert pianist, Rhodes Scholar, Oxford attending, Magna Cum Lauda-ing, animal lover, husband, and gay man.