A native of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg is chair of the Democrat’s national LGBT advisory council and has been a prominent LGBT advocate for years.
Pete Buttigieg was an original cohort of gay republicans, met the pope, celebrated his dream of being a Republican … and then left
After his proclamation at a “bitter-sweet” convention that he would run for president, the 37-year-old former mayor of South Bend, Indiana, spent most of the year touring the nation, speaking at grassroots groups.
“I ended up with a pretty tough decision,” he told Good Morning America in May when it was revealed that he would run.
“One part of me thought that as gay, and one of the few openly gay candidates who could run for the office, the burden on myself was great, but there was so much more I wanted to accomplish.”
Such instincts were borne out on Saturday. In yet another surreal turn, NBC’s Meet the Press on Sunday night hosted the candidate on its live show – before his scheduled interview on ABC’s This Week the next morning. The broadcast was cut short as he travelled to a rally in Little Rock.
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He was asked by Meet the Press host Chuck Todd: “It is amazing what has happened this week.”
Buttigieg: “Of course it is.”
Todd: “You have built a big campaign out of small contributions.”
Buttigieg: “It’s like America.”
Despite the glitzy political hoopla, Buttigieg’s real campaign is largely a laundry list of virtue signaling, little more.
Unlike the free-range candidacy of Bernie Sanders – the left’s latest choice for president – the ticket featured an uncommonly red state mayor who, like his straight counterparts in the field, typically keeps things vague, leaves the Trump-supporting, super-aggrieved voters to their own devices.
Buttigieg, an unlikely debut for the Democratic party as it grapples with the backlash from last year’s US supreme court decision to drastically curb protections for transgender Americans, is a policy wonk who nevertheless has been at the center of fights over adoption rights for gay couples.
He dropped out of Harvard University to serve in the Iraq war as a military intelligence officer, and once condemned the military’s controversial “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that allowed homosexuals to serve, though he now says the restrictions should be lifted.
“As our generations grow older, they’re going to learn about tolerance – and perhaps even tolerance itself,” he said, as thousands protested against the law on Saturday in Portland, Oregon.
His upcoming book, of course, promises an insider’s insight into the Beltway.
“The current political system no longer delivers what Americans need and want,” it will say. “It’s more responsive to interests that align with the wealthy and powerful than to the needs of the average American.”
Also on Sunday, Buttigieg criticized the US supreme court for striking down bans on same-sex marriage nationwide, saying the ruling violated due process and equal protection rights.
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“I don’t buy into the idea that lower courts did something that just doesn’t make sense. Do I believe that there are some rights that reside in the text of the constitution? Absolutely. We were talking about the equal protection clause.”
Buttigieg’s struggle as an openly gay candidate is familiar to anyone in politics who has challenged popular perceptions of machismo and combative masculinity.
He may have changed his party’s official 2016 talking points on gay rights (he had a couple of lunch dates with Trump before he fled to announce his candidacy), but Buttigieg’s record in public office does not speak to his calling for a “new politics” and a new generation of campaigners.
Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) #MTPmepr Meet the Democratic candidate @PeteButtigieg and his special brand of candor and accountability on American politics. #MTP pic.twitter.com/mwc50Y0cYp
When it comes to LGBTQ rights, he had another profile-raising moment in August 2016, shortly after the then-candidate was quick to promise he would not nominate anyone to the supreme