When Pete Buttigieg became Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Newsweek had just featured his home as one of “America’s Top 10 Dying Cities.” South Bend embodied the same economic trends that went on to spawn Trump: rising unemployment, decaying social bonds, and anti-globalism.
Pete started by repairing roads and pledging to redevelop 1,000 vacant homes in 1,000 days. His team finished two months early. He lifted the minimum wage, recruited companies to open new offices, and invested in a major downtown revitalization while weathering multiple climate catastrophes.
Over eight years as Mayor, Pete transformed the struggling manufacturing community into a Midwestern tech hub. Today, South Bend is a prosperous city with a growing youth population, 3.6 percent unemployment, and rapid economic development.
While leading a city is a greater executive office than serving in Congress, no Mayor has been directly elected President. So beyond saving South Bend, why is CNN calling Pete “the hottest candidate in the 2020 race,” and why should you give him your vote and your money?
The economic policies that Pete enacted as Mayor can scale nationwide. Pete supports unions, small business, and higher wages. He chairs a national committee to reconcile rising automation with sustainable employment. He advocates single-payer healthcare via an interim public-private hybrid called all-payer rate setting, which is more fiscally and politically viable than instant Medicare for All. He supports DACA, fought for a constituent deported by ICE, and opposed deploying soldiers to the Mexican border.
Pete won a medal for counterterrorism as a Navy lieutenant in Afghanistan. He believes in a steady Middle East withdrawal, climate change as a national security risk (he backs the Paris Accord, the Green New Deal, and a net-zero emissions economy by 2050), and a well-balanced support for Israel that recognizes the threat of Iranian leaders without demonizing Iranian people.
Against a draft-dodging coward, who would you rather nominate to fight for gun regulation and repealing the military’s ban on transgender service-members?
Pete is the only candidate to make faith a core tenant of his campaign. Pete believes in reproductive rights and separation of church-and-state, but doesn’t think the GOP should get to monopolize religious voters when so many Republicans have abandoned faith to prop up an unfaithful President.
As Pete said of Mike Pence: “Is it that he stopped believing in Scripture when he started believing in Donald Trump?” The same goes for most Republican politicians — and many religious conservatives have noticed. Also, if you haven’t seen Pete’s letter to the Muslim community after the New Zealand shooting, this is what compassionate leadership looks like.
Pete, a lifelong Episcopalian, came out as gay and married the love of his life in the middle of a Midwest election (and won with 80% of the vote). Still, a few pundits ask if America is ready for a gay President, just as they asked if we could elect a black President named Barack Hussein Obama.
Pete’s religious, working-class constituents embraced his orientation and admire his courage; why shouldn’t the rest of America?
People who won’t vote for a Christian war veteran just because he’s gay are not voting Democrat anyway.
Pete is a Harvard grad, a Rhodes scholar, and speaks seven languages, including Arabic and Norwegian. He answers yes-or-no questions that other candidates deflect. You know where Pete stands.
His memoir—“Shortest Way Home”—is an honest coming-of-age story and a case study in data-driven servant-leadership that radiates intelligence.
Let’s make America smart again.
Pete is the first Millennial candidate. This could have been a disadvantage — despite the boons of health, digital savviness and voter turnout — had Pete not served longer in government than the President and more time in executive office than the Vice President.
Pete has already presented a mature array of policies, which most candidates have not. He’s young, but his executive and military achievements beat the less relevant congressional credentials touted by most of his competitors. Also, Democrats often win by going young, from JFK to Clinton to Obama.
Pete is a loyal Democrat. Pete interned for Ted Kennedy and campaigned for Al Gore, Jill Thompson, John Kerry, and Obama, who regards Pete as the future of the Democratic Party. Obama’s strategist David Axelrod stated that Pete has “limitless potential.”
During high school, Pete won the JFK Profile in Courage Award for his essay about then-Independent Congressman Bernie Sanders. While winding down his final term as Mayor and starting up his presidential campaign, Pete is still campaigning for other Democrats.
While Pete advocates a strong liberal agenda, he can also win the voters that Democrats need to recover in 2020: working-class, religious, and patriotic Americans who doubted Trump but didn’t see a home in the Democratic Party of 2016.
Simply activating the base with progressive policies, which Pete will, cannot win if the Democratic nominee alienates moderates, which Pete will not.
He has key cross-demographic appeal: he can get out the youth vote (a third of primary voters), he’s overwhelmingly popular in a city that’s 46% non-white, and he’s a popular Mayor in the Midwest, which is where we lost the White House in 2016 — and where we need to win it back in 2020.
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