Pete Buttigieg is the poster child for a changing America

Pete ButtigiegPeter (Pete) Paul ButtigiegButtigieg: We 'probably are' on cusp of recession Chris Wallace becomes Trump era's 'equal opportunity inquisitor' Fighter pilot vs. astronaut match-up in Arizona could determine control of Senate MORE, mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is just one of the many Democratic candidates for president with a gold-plated resume. What makes Buttigieg real impressive is that he’s only 37.

“Mayor Pete,” as he’s known, had to start early in order to build such a long resume so quickly. As a high school senior, he won a JFK Profiles in Courage essay contest. Ironically the subject of the essay was his competitor for the Democratic nod, Sen. Bernie SandersBernie SandersJoe Biden faces an uncertain path Bernie Sanders vows to go to 'war with white nationalism and racism' as president Biden: 'There's an awful lot of really good Republicans out there' MORE (I-Vt.).


The essay launched an impressive career.  He went on to receive degrees from Harvard and Oxford, where he was a Rhodes Scholar. He served in Afghanistan in Naval Intelligence for seven months and he received a Joint Services Commendation Medal for his counterterrorism duty in a combat zone. He was first elected as mayor of South Bend when he was only 29. He still holds his rank as a lieutenant in the Navy Reserve.

The Washington Post called him “the most interesting mayor you never heard of.” President Obama said he was one of four Democrats who represent the future of the Democratic Party.

And by the way, he’s gay and married. He is the first openly gay candidate to run for the Democratic presidential nomination and he would become the first openly gay president of the United States, if elected.

Pete vs. Pence

Demography is destiny and America’s destiny is diversity. Buttigieg is a poster child for the changes in American society. The United States is becoming more diverse and the Democratic Party is becoming more diverse — while the GOP is struck in the mud. The GOP is a dinosaur based in Jurassic Park where the only human residents are the characters from the ‘50s sitcom, “Father Knows Best.”

The great bard, Bob Dylan wrote “the times, they are a changing.” But the Republican Party is frozen in time while the United States changes racially, socially and sexually. A national Gallup Poll from May of 2018 showed that two of every three (67 percent) Americans believed that “same sex marriages should be recognized by the law with the same rights as traditional marriage”. That’s up from 53 percent in 2013.

Buttigieg has set himself up as a foil for fellow Hoosier, Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard PenceFEC chair calls on Trump to provide evidence of NH voter fraud Five years after Yazidi genocide, US warns ISIS is rebounding Log Cabin Republicans endorse Trump MORE. Recently, he showed a knack for sharp sound bites when he described the Pence as “the cheerleader of the porn star presidency.” The contrast between Buttigieg and Pence is an effective way to illustrate the contrasts between the Democratic and Republican Parties.

Pence, who was governor of Indiana before his ascension to the vice presidency is the poster guy for the religious right-wing. This appendage of the GOP sold its soul to a presidential candidate who has been married three times and paid hush money through his lawyer to a porn star, for what she alleges was an extramarital affair.

Pence is so traditional that he won’t meet privately with women, without his wife present. He is also a strong opponent of gay marriage. The vice president was dragged kicking and screaming into the 21th century just before St. Patrick’s Day when he had to meet with the Irish Prime Minister and his boyfriend in the White House.

It would be more than a little ironic if Buttigieg succeeds Pence as vice president.  It would be very ironic if a gay man in a stable relationship succeeds a thrice-married president accused several times of being a womanizer.


It would be easy to dismiss Buttigieg’s chances to win the Democratic nomination, but he’s already generated a buzz that has eluded some of the more prominent Democratic presidential hopefuls.

Typical of the was buzz was a tweet from former Rep. Joe Scarborough reacting to Buttigieg’s appearance on Morning Joe recently. 

“Mika and I have been overwhelmed by the reaction @PeteButtigieg got after being on the show. The only other time in 12 years that we heard from [as] many people about a guest was after @BarackObama appeared on Morning Joe.”


What is the secret to Buttigieg’s success? The answer is he the anti-Trump. He’s young, a Rhodes Scholar and he served with distinction in a war zone. He’s also unbloodied from combat in Washington, D.C. He has a unique story to tell and he’s intelligent. What more can you ask for in a president?

Whether or not this hype translates into being a real player in the presidential race is an open question. But it’s not a bad place to start. 

Brad Bannon is a Democratic pollster and CEO of Bannon Communications Research. He is also the host of a radio podcast “Dateline D.C. With Brad Bannon” that airs on the Progressive Voices Network. 

This is the eighth piece in a series of profiles by Bannon on 2020 Democratic hopefuls. Read his analysis on Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand’s (D-N.Y.),  former Rep. Beto O’Rourkeformer Govs. Jay Inslee and John Hickenlooper, former Vice President Joe BidenSen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), former HUD Secretary Julian CastroSen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.)