The Deep Political Philosophy of Mayor Pete

by Jane Holmes – Nov 30, 2019 (, severely abridged)

Putting the Philosophy Into Practice: The Campaign

Leading with Values

Buttigieg’s presidential campaign is putting his philosophy into practice. While other campaigns led with policy plans or are all about “fighting Trump”, Buttigieg lead his roll-out with values: Freedom, Security, Democracy. From the beginning, his stump speech outlined how we can all agree on those values, and how each value leads him to progressive ideas.

For example, “Freedom” can include the freedom to marry whom you chose or a woman’s right to make her own reproductive choices. It can include the freedom to start a small business because you can get health care coverage from the government.

In this way, Buttigieg came out of the gate reclaiming values that had been hijacked by the Republican party. What he is saying to voters, even conservative voters, is: We can all agree that we believe in freedom, right? So maybe we can agree to extend the idea of freedom to these (traditionally progressive) areas too.

Appealing to the Heartland

Another move in line with Buttigieg’s philosophy is his outreach to the heartland.

We see it in everything Buttigieg does. A plan for rural America was one of his first released plans. It addresses population drain with Community Renewal Visas for highly-skilled immigrants, the closing of rural hospitals with telehealth and additional funding, promises Broadband for all, and more.

And Buttigieg very pointedly speaks to farmers. In the November debate, Buttigieg mentioned farmers over and over, and he’s the only one who did. He wants farmers to know he understands their problems and respects what they do — when the “coastal elites” only turn up their noses. He wants to enlist farmers to be part of the climate solution by investing in research to develop carbon-neutral farms and providing subsidies for farmers to convert. For farmers, this provides a relief from their fear of climate insecurity while offering a sense of pride and purpose.

In his campaigning, Buttigieg routinely goes to the reddest, most rural counties in Iowa and New Hampshire. He gets record crowds too. At many stops you see comments from reporters or residents saying they haven’t seen crowds like that since Obama. These people are listening.

This is incredibly smart. Whereas most current Dem candidates dismiss rural America as “Trump country”, Buttigieg can see that the door is cracked open, and he is prepared to bust it wide. Farmers who supported Trump in 2016 are now faced with years of losses due to Trump’s tariffs and are struggling with climate change while Trump and the Republicans still claim it’s not happening.

Some will undoubtedly remain loyal to the Republican party, but Buttigieg is winning over many. Reports on social media from people who live in rural areas say they can’t figure out what’s going on — Trump signs are going down and Buttigieg signs are going up.In this rather astonishing video, people in Decorah, Iowa go nuts when Pete says other countries will have to “get used to” the president being gay.

Strange bedfellows? A 37-year-old, Harvard educated, pro-choice, progressive gay man and rural Iowa farmers? Maybe. But Buttigieg’s theory is proving true — form a connection through shared values, speak honestly and from the heart, listen to people’s problems and propose policies to address them, make sure voters understand how you’re gonna make their lives better. In the end, his sexuality means as little as Trump’s gold toilets or the color of Obama’s skin.

Obama-> Trump-> Buttigieg. Watch it happen.

And in case it’s not clear, what works in Iowa and New Hampshire can work through the middle of this country. This is the way we have a true blue wave and a complete rout. If Buttigieg is the nominee, he can not only win over these rural areas but have the “coat-tails” to turn the Senate blue as well.

This was his theory and, guess what? It’s working.

Ushering in A New Era

“To come of age in the 21st century is to see virtually every idea and policy put forth by the Republican party in your lifetime fail before your eyes when actually put into practice. Nothing they say actually works in the real world.”

Buttigieg is right. The rising tide does not lift all boats, and allowing the corporations more and more free reign has not improved the lives of the many but has led to egregious income inequality.

It is the failure of Reaganism that led to the brutal Trump era. Instead of being the populist savior as promised, Trump has been the ultimate expression of greed, wealth concentration, and self-serving corruption. If Trump remains in office, the next American era will be one of authoritarianism and oligarchy.

We cannot allow it to continue. It must be a “blip” between two more substantial eras.

As Buttigieg told the Young Democrats: “This is how the conservative era, which has dominated our lifetimes, comes to an end. Republicans have strayed so far from the American people that their party is collapsing. This is the hinge point that we’re at, the moment between an old era and a new one. The New Deal era lasted for fifty years only to come to an end with Reagan. The Reagan Era ends with us.” (Pete’s speech to Young Democrats, 7/18/2019)

This is why a “simple mayor” from Indiana is winning the Democratic primary. Because he understands what this election is about. It’s not about fighting Trump. It’s about defining a new political era — one that all Americans can see themselves prospering in.

So what does the Buttigieg Era look like?

  • It is defined by “progressive pragmatism” in which progressive ideas are implemented with practical plans and fiscal responsibility.
  • It is an era of “democratic capitalism” in which capitalism is encouraged and innovation rewarded, but if there is a conflict between “democracy” and “capitalism”, democracy comes first. This means ending Citizens United and the power of lobbyist to overcome the will of the people. And it means corporate profits cannot rise endlessly at the expense of workers.
  • It is an era that brings back a thriving middle class with the encouragement of unions, raising minimum wage, more worker protections, and providing federal benefits for the new gig economy workers and caretakers.
  • It is an era defined by a huge national project to confront climate change that enlists all Americans to work together to save the future for our children. This joint project goes a long way to healing the deep divides in our country.
  • It is an era in which we finally tackle big issues like racism, LGBTQ rights, immigration, disability, aging, and poverty with a spirit of compassion and justice.
  • It is an era in which our government, at every level, and our judiciary reflect the diverse gender, racial, and class makeup of the people.
  • It is an era in which nuance, discourse, acceptance, and forgiveness come back and bullying, cancel culture, “othering”, and purity tests go out of fashion.
  • It is an era in which our democratic republic and constitution are shored up. The holes revealed by Trump are duly patched with a double-seam. The ways in which Republicans have gamed and cheated the system are repaired so we have free and fair elections. Which means the Republican party — which will bounce back —will be forced to come up with a legit conservative agenda that can get a majority of votes fairly.
  • It is an era in which America regains her leadership on the world stage and helps define a progressive new world agenda.
  • It is an era in which we protect our elections from foreign interference and our shores from cyber threats, white nationalism, disinformation, and propaganda.
  • It is an era in which we have addressed the crisis of belonging, giving all Americans a sense of hope, purpose, and pride.

[read in full]

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