Mayor President?

A Reflection on the Presidential Candidate, Mayor Pete Buttigieg

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Julia Catrambone

Sarane James ’19, an avid supporter of Mayor Pete, lends her thoughts.

Harvard alumni. Rhodes scholar. Veteran. Mayor Pete Buttigieg has a resume straight out of the fantasies of the coastal intelligentsia. His unique qualifications and personal characteristics have caused him to be repeatedly hailed as “just the kind of change we need for this country right now.” Beyond simply the things he does, the make-up of his personal life seems to be a wonderfully harmonious blend of the strict dichotomies regions of this country often are split into. He is mid-western, deeply religious, an intellectual, and the first openly gay presidential candidate, all rolled into one.

He is absolutely perfect.

Except, when any of his supporters are asked about the policies that he is interested in pursuing or his goals for the country, they are left spurting about the fact that he knows eight languages and learned Norwegian for fun.

Many voters don’t necessarily want a candidate that’s perfect in every way — they just want someone who will win.

His nebulous legislative goals are often manipulated in debates to allow him skirt the edge of liberal and conservative. In a Fox News sponsored town hall, when asked about suggested term limits for abortion, he prevaricated on the question before finally going with the safe response of “it should be the women’s choice,” and then subsequently referenced friends of his who were anti-abortion. It’s one thing to recognize the multi-faceted nature of topical issues and another to have a flexible moral backbone; which side of the fence Mayor Pete falls on is up to the viewer’s discretion.

In fairness to Mayor Pete, selling a personality rather than a list of dream legislation is a deliberate campaign strategy, a tactic which Buttigieg has consistently supported, even before political aspirations were on his horizon. According to Buttigieg, since the president does not have sole legislative power, it’s more important for voters to understand the person behind the president’s desk, than what he or she would do given unfettered power. Additionally, given that Buttigieg offers a variety of specific policy goals for different issues on his platform website, this may seem like a fair stance to take.

Furthermore, his impressive résumé has the potential to hold worth beyond achieving publicity. His vocational experience would make him a more qualified president than many other candidates, and the sum total of his experience means that he would be able to offer a very unique perspective on a lot of pressing issues in a way that we haven’t seen in a long time. He would be the first president with military since George W. Bush Sr. and his pursuit of different languages suggests a deep intellectual curiosity and strong work ethic, even when not being held accountable. Plus, many voters don’t necessarily want a candidate that’s perfect in every way — they just want someone who will win. Given Buttigieg’s undeniable public surge of approval, he might be just the candidate.

The majority of Democrats want someone who can beat Trump, and they seem to favor someone who can get into a cat fight with him, but I think the way he stays above that while still reaching out to people across the country is commendable. I hope he goes far in the race!” added Sarane James, ’19. In fact, the majority of Democrats who do support Buttigieg are college educated Democrats, but nonetheless, it seems that many are interested in someone directly antithetical to Trump. Harvard Professor Elizabeth Warren and brazen Socialist Bernie Sanders have the potential to take this slot, however, Buttigieg’s charisma should not be underestimated. Whatever your stance on the likelihood of his success, he is certainly a force to be reckoned with and no small contender in this race.

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