Pete Buttigieg Announces Candidacy for President

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who oversaw the city's return from the brink, was a Rhodes scholar, is an Afghanistan war veteran, and is gay, has announced that he is running for president. Cathleen Decker at the Washington Post reports:
Buttigieg suffused his announcement with references to his youth and the generational exception he represents compared to most of the Democratic field. He turned 37 on Saturday, making him the youngest entrant so far in the presidential race.

"I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now. We're the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11, and we're the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different," he said in his announcement video.

"We can't just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future."

...He acknowledged Wednesday that he is "aware of the odds" he faces in leaping from local office — particularly one representing a city of just over 100,000 people — to a presidential campaign. But he also faced a dismal potential for rising to statewide office in his Republican-dominated state.

Like others considering a presidential race — among them Michael Bloomberg, the former mayor of New York, and Eric Garcetti, mayor of Los Angeles — Buttigieg is emphasizing his role in his city's transformation.

After taking office at the age of 29, he confronted an industrial Midwest town that, like many others, had been left foundering by economic changes in recent decades that ruined much of the city's financial base. He pushed to revitalize South Bend, draw in new residents and businesses, diversify the economy, and clean up blighted, abandoned homes.

"When I arrived in office at the beginning of this decade, the national press said that our city was dying," he said in his video. "People on the outside didn't believe our city had a future."

"We propelled our city's comeback by taking our eyes off the rearview mirror, being honest about change, and insisting on a better future," he said, suggesting that he would be able to force similar transformations at the national level.
The observation that Buttigieg "faced a dismal potential for rising to statewide office" in Indiana is an important one. I believe his presidential run is a serious one. I'm sure he would also be happy to end up in the eventual nominee's veep slot. But even if he doesn't end up on the Democratic ticket in either capacity, a presidential run, especially if he makes it to the debate stage, will raise his national profile and help him significantly if he wants to run for U.S. Senator or governor of Indiana. Running on having led the revitalization of South Bend isn't a bad campaign for a Cabinet position in a Democratic presidency, either.

So, there are reasons to be supportive of Buttigieg's run, with a long view of the party's future leadership, even if one doesn't imagine he's ready to be president.

Another thing I'll note: The fact that Buttigieg is gay creates yet another stumbling block for Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden and their narrative of running only if they are the best candidates. If either of them runs at this point, my question is obviously gonna be: Really? Y'all are more qualified than three female senators, a Latino former cabinet member, and a gay mayor who's proven he can win in an unlikely place?

Okay! Looking forward to seeing that case being made by old white dudes. (I am not looking forward to that.)

They can't even pivot and make a "fear of the unknown" case without reminding everyone that they're a couple of pre-rejected known quantities whose only point of difference is being straight old white men. "You didn't like me before, but HOW ABOUT NOW compared to all these marginalized people?" Yikes.

Anyway. Congratulations to Mayor Pete on his shiny new campaign! I already regret the ugly homophobia he'll be obliged to navigate and respect him for having the gumption and patriotism to do it.

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