It seems like every four days, there’s a new Democratic nominee for the 2020 election that magically appears, shit talks Trump on Colbert, and tweets a Leslie Knope gif to seem cool to millennials. We’re a year and a half away from the election and I’m already feeling jaded by some of these candidates.
That is, until I heard about Pete Buttigieg.
I first fell into a Buttigieg (pronounced like “Buddah judge”) interview binge after reading that he could be the first openly gay President. My first thought was “ok, cute, I’m here for it…but America be homophobic.” However, after looking at what he’s got to offer, I’m actually optimistic at his chances.
He’s only 37 years old, but he’s got plenty of leadership experience. He’s currently the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, a position he’s held for 8 years. He’s successfully turned South Bend from one of America’s Top Cities in Decline (yes, that is a real list that exists) to a booming economic center for Indiana. He served as a lieutenant in the Navy during the war in Afghanistan. He’s a Harvard graduate and a Rhodes scholar. He’s worked for congressional and presidential campaigns. He knows eight languages. He’s a concert pianist with the South Bend Symphony Orchestra.
Pete really didn’t have to flex this hard on us, but he did.
I’ll be realistic here in saying that Buttigieg’s chances are slim. The Democratic race has some heavy hitters, including 2016 hopeful Bernie Sanders, America’s rock and roll dad Beto O’Rourke, weird coffee enthusiast Cory Brooker, and Pinterest’s favorite nominee Elizabeth Warren.
Even if Buttigieg receives the nomination, we all know America’s overall attitude towards the LGBTQ+ community. We can believe that we’re living in this post-marriage equality, non-homophobic nation, but like…we ain’t honey. In the last year, trust in LGBT people has gone down and LGBT discrimination has been reported more. And the lack of LGBTQ+ executive members in politics showcases our fear and hesitation of putting queer people in power.
But Mayor Pete’s been rising in the polls over the past few months, even though he hasn’t officially announced candidacy yet. TV hosts on a variety of networks are already singing his praises. And in 2015, after Pete came out as gay right before his re-election campaign, he still won by 80% of the vote — this is from a state where 47% of people still don’t support same-sex marriage.
And just look at this wedding photo! How could you hate this man after looking at this picture? I’ve been staring at it for twenty minutes now. That shit cute.
Overall, I’m not only excited about seeing a fellow queer man rising in the political system, but I’m excited about Buttigieg’s ideas and his ability to lead. I’ll be keeping a close eye on his journey over the next few months, and it won’t be long until the country knows his name (even if they can’t pronounce it).