Democratic Field Expands As Newcomer Buttigieg Enters 2020 Race
On Saturday, the Democratic field for the 2020 presidential race gained another candidate. Pete Buttigieg, 37, entered politics at the age of 29 when he was elected mayor of South Bend, Indiana in 2011. Buttigieg attended Harvard University and studied history and literature. Then, as a Rhodes Scholar, he studied philosophy, politics, and economics at the University of Oxford.
Buttigieg announced his interest in running for president in January by launching a presidential exploratory committee. He would be entering an already-crowded pool of Democratic presidential hopefuls and going up against well-known U.S. Senators including Elizabeth Warren, Kamala Harris, and Corey Booker.
Despite the fact that Buttigieg has never been elected to a national political office, a poll of Iowa Democratic voters released last week by Monmouth University showed that Buttigieg had the support of 9 percent of those polled, trailing only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. Another poll out of the New Hampshire Institute of Politics produced similar results.
Both polls placed him ahead of numerous well-known candidates including Warren, Harris, Booker, former Representative O’Rourke (D-TX), and Senator Klobuchar (D-MN). It was following this wave of promising poll numbers that Buttigieg officially launched his campaign last weekend.
Buttigieg has painted himself as President Trump’s antithesis. Namely, Buttigieg proclaims on his campaign website that “we cannot find greatness in the past. There is no honest politics that revolves around the word again,” directly expressing his opposition to Trump’s 2016 campaign slogan.
Further, the young mayor states that global change is inevitable; “The question isn’t: ‘Can we stop these changes and go back to the past?’ The question needs to be: ‘How can we make sure these changes work for us?’”
Buttigieg’s presidential campaign is focused on “connecting with the global economy through investing in advanced industries, data, technology, and higher education,” echoing many of the policies he implemented in South Bend.
Altogether, Buttigieg represents a unique and entirely new type of president. He’s a millennial, and when questioned about his age, Buttigieg maintains that his age would be an asset. He notes that he grew up in the era of school shootings; his generation was the one that was deployed to the Middle East in response to 9/11. He served in the US Navy Reserve and would have more military experience than any president since George H.W. Bush.
If elected, Buttigieg would also be the first openly gay president. The candidate has already received some pushback from social conservatives for his sexuality, but a recent poll from the Wall Street Journal found that 68 percent of American “were either enthusiastic...or comfortable...with a gay or lesbian presidential candidate. This is up from 43 percent in 2006.”
Though Buttigieg is entering a crowded pool of Democratic presidential candidates, early polls suggest that he may be a top contender heading into Democratic primary debates.