by Jordan Phillips – Apr 8, 2019 (The-Standard.org)
On Jan. 23, 2019, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete Buttigieg, announced that he was launching an exploratory committee for the Democratic Party nomination for 2020. At the time, he was an unknown figure in the Democratic Party who had been mayor of South Bend since 2011 and had unsuccessfully run for the new Chair of the Democratic National Committee in 2017. Now, he seems to have made a lot of headway since a well-received CNN town hall on March 10 and has been climbing steadily ever since.
If nominated for the Democratic nomination in 2020 and if elected president, Buttigieg will be the youngest president ever elected, being only 38 years old at the time of the election. He would be the first openly gay president the United States has ever had. He would be the first millennial president and the first veteran of the war in Afghanistan to serve as commander-in-chief. That’s a lot of firsts for a country like ours.
So what is the reason for this surge in popularity? Buttigieg seems to be truly authentic and he has a way of speaking that puts people at ease.
When I was first introduced to him, it was through a clip of him on the MSNBC morning show “Morning Joe” and I just found him to be quite fascinating. He always seemed to really answer questions and address concerns, instead of going around the question like most politicians do. He speaks plainly and practically, almost with a pragmatism that seems to be lacking these days, especially in the political environment that we have been living in. An article published April 5 in New York Magazine described him as being “something both very new and yet very traditional.”
From what I have seen, he does try to appeal to conservatives in the middle and on the right. On March 17, he was the first 2020 Democratic candidate to appear on Fox News. His reasoning? “An election is supposed to be about our whole country, the whole thing, and we can’t just concentrate on those areas where people, for the most part, already agree with us,” he said when he was on “The View” on March 22.
He can, unlike our current president, say that he has served in the military, having become a Navy reservist in 2009 — according to Navy Times — and he was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014, doing a seven-month tour before returning to his post as mayor. He is a Rhodes scholar, has attended prestigious institutions like Harvard and Oxford, and can speak seven languages, not including English. Even though he is an intellectual, he does not look down upon people and is not condescending.
In other words, Mayor Pete — as he is called in his hometown of South Bend — is the antithesis of the Trump presidency, and I think that is what the country is looking for right now. We do not need to fight fire with fire; that is only going to make our situation worse and divide us further. We need the water to put out the fire — that water is Pete Buttigieg.