Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Unlikely, Untested, Unprecedented Presidential Campaign

Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Unlikely, Untested, Unprecedented Presidential Campaign, by Charlotte Alter.

In many ways, [US Democat and presidential candidate Pete] Buttigieg is Trump’s polar opposite: younger, dorkier, shorter, calmer and married to a man. …

In a field of more than 20 ­candidates — including six Senators, four Congressmen, two governors and a former Vice ­President — Buttigieg (pronounced Boot-edge-edge) has vaulted from near total obscurity toward the front of the Democratic pack, running ahead of or even with more established candidates and behind only Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders. …

Four years after the U.S. Supreme Court affirmed his right to marry, Buttigieg has become the first openly gay person to make a serious bid for the presidency.

There are two main types of presidential candidates: those who run on policy and those who run on personality. Buttigieg says he’s a “policy guy,” but he’s definitely a personality guy. His campaign is more about who he is (young, gay, Midwestern, technocratic) and what he represents (social progress, generational change, an olive branch to “flyover country”) than what he’ll do if he’s President. …

Buttigieg is a gay Episcopalian veteran in a party torn between identity politics and heartland appeals. He’s also a fresh face in a year when millennials are poised to become the largest eligible voting bloc. Many Democrats are hungry for generational change, and the two front runners are more than twice his age. …

After graduation, Buttigieg went to Oxford on a Rhodes scholarship, then did a brief stint at the consulting firm ­McKinsey, analyzing grocery-store pricing. He moved back to Indiana and joined the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009, before the repeal of “Don’t ask, don’t tell.” …

In 2010, at the age of 28, he ran his first political campaign, for Indiana state treasurer, and got crushed, losing by 27 points. But the following year, Buttigieg ran for mayor of South Bend and won. …

So far Buttigieg has embraced a few big ideas, such as abolishing the Electoral College and expanding the Supreme Court. (Both would require an improbable constitutional amendment.) But when it comes to the policy issues dominating the primary so far, he has staked out only general positions. On health care, he favors “Medicare for all who want it.” He supports an “inter­generational alliance” to fight climate change and calls the Green New Deal “the right beginning.” He said he wants to “do some math” around Senator Elizabeth Warren’s plan to make college free and forgive student debt.