10 Reasons Why Pete Buttigieg Should be Biden’s VP

Analysis shows Buttigieg is the best choice for a winning ticket

Jane Holmes
10 min readMar 5, 2020

The assumption from pundits is that Biden will name a woman or person of color as his VP pick to balance the ticket. While this seems obvious on the surface level, there are many reasons why Buttigieg is overwhelmingly the best choice for VP.

This list is written as a countdown, so scroll to the bottom for reason #1!

10. Pete’s already been vetted and has proven his ability to handle the press.

Remember Sarah Palin? The last thing you want on the ticket for the general election is someone who might bring a new controversy when the press digs into their past. Or someone who gives damaging interviews.

Pete has already been through the vetting process for the past year. And he’s proven absolutely unflappable, intelligent, and unable to be flustered or baited into making dumb remarks. He’d be a fantastic spokesperson for Biden’s campaign and administration.

BONUS: Speaking of vetting, Pete went through a security clearance when he went into Navy intelligence. What a concept!

9. Pete campaigns like a rockstar.

Biden’s success in the primary isn’t due to his ability to generate large, enthusiastic crowds. That’s why he didn’t do well in Iowa and New Hampshire, where the primary was largely about retail campaigning.

Pete has shown he’s up to the rigor of intense campaigning, doing five or more rallies in a single day. He’s an inspiring and charismatic speaker who draws a large crowd. People who go to a Buttigieg rally come away believers. He gives them hope.

His crowds were among the biggest in the primary. In the last week of his campaign, he had 4500 in Salt Lake City, 8800 in Denver, and 8000 in Arlington VA. Pete would be a huge asset to the campaign and drive out votes for Nov 2020.

Campaign clip montage from Pete’s rallies:

8. Pete can bring in the Midwest and Swing States.

A big part of the VP choice is: who can help win the General Election?

Biden is already strong with African America voters. He polled over 40% with AA voters in South Carolina, for example. Comparatively, Kamala Harris and Cory Booker were polling at around 2–4%. So it doesn’t follow that having an AA running mate will drive out the AA vote. Where does Biden poll low?

Fact: The South will go red. The coasts will go blue. What matters is the swing states.

Where the general election will be won or lost is in the swing states. These are: Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin. Let’s break it down!

Iowa & New Hampshire — Buttigieg campaigned heavily in Iowa and won the state in the primary. He essentially tied for first place in New Hampshire (with Sanders). In both of those states, Biden did poorly. An ideal running mate for these two swing states? Buttigieg!

Michigan — Chasten Buttigieg is from Michigan and South Bend is next door. Buttigieg has home court advantage here.

Minnesota, Ohio, Wisconsin — All Midwestern states, and Buttigieg is a Rustbelt Indiana mayor. He has the “Midwestern nice” demeanor and speaks their language. Hence why he did so well in Iowa.

North Carolina and Virginia — Pundits marveled at how Biden did so well in these two states despite not having campaigned there. Hello! Both have large grassroots #TeamPete movements that helped swing those states to Biden after Pete dropped out. A February Pete rally in Arlington drew a crowd of over 8000. Pete’s got these two states.

Colorado — Sanders took Colorado. Biden needs help there in the general. Pete had 8800 enthusiastic fans at a Denver rally in February. He’s more progressive than Biden and can help motivate younger voters.

Florida — Pete and Biden both do well with older demographics, a large part of Florida’s population. Pete was doing excellent outreach among the Latino voters in Nevada but didn’t have much time between NH and NV. He speaks Spanish and aced his appearances on Telemundo and with the Culinary union. He has a strong Latinx policy. Pete could be an asset to Biden among Latino voters in Florida.

Pennsylvania — It’s Midwestern in values, which is a good fit for Pete. Philadelphia has a huge and active #TeamPete group. Pete also has a strong appeal to rural areas and farmers (he dominated the rural counties in IA and NH).

7. Pete can bring in conservative voters.

As Obama’s VP, Biden has the Democrat vote sewn up. Plus, most dems would turn up in November to vote for a bag of rocks over Trump.

In order to have a real “blue tsunami” in Nov 2020, what we need is someone who can bring in Independent and Trump-weary Republican votes. Someone who has the coattails to help flip the Senate blue.

There’s tons of anecdotal evidence on social media about Republicans and Independents flipping for Pete. But for concrete evidence, look to Iowa and New Hampshire. In Iowa, Pete won all the Obama->Trump counties. Of his 1600+ precinct captains in Iowa, 30% of them were ex-republicans! He took 63 of the 99 counties, dominating more conservative rural areas. Just look at this map:

In addition, demographics from these states show that Pete has appeal across ideological spectrums. He got 25% of the Independent vote in New Hampshire (Just slightly less than Bernie.) He appeals across liberal, moderate, and conservative groups.

As further evidence, in Mormon-dominated Salt Lake City in February, Pete got 4500 at a rally. Utah #TeamPete grassroots volunteers were very passionate and traveled to Nevada frequently to canvass.

Why does Buttigieg appeal to conservatives?

  • He is genuinely a man of faith representing the Christian left.
  • He welcomes “future former Republicans” into his tent. He doesn’t belittle ex-Trump voters.
  • He’s a veteran. This is incredibly important to many people and having Pete as VP would be the first time we’ve had a veteran Pres or VP since George H. W. Bush.
  • Pete’s character is conservative even if his policies are progressive. In his stump speech, Pete leads with values like freedom, democracy, national security, family, and faith. He’s honest, decent, genuinely patriotic, and humble. This is a marked contrast with Trump and can help sway conservative voters to align with their morals rather than their (Republican) party.

6. Pete balances Joe’s age with a youthful perspective on issues.

When it comes to “balancing the ticket”, gender and race aren’t the only considerations. Biden’s primary weakness is his age. Can voters trust he’s up to the job? That he’ll last eight years or even four?

This is where having a young, vibrant, super sharp running mate will help. People will look at the ticket and ask themselves if they can live with the VP, because chances are good they’ll have to. Or if the VP can team with the president to get the job done. Pete can.

Also, we have many new challenges such as cyber security, climate change, tech companies, data rights, etc, that need to be tackled from a younger perspective. (The painful spectacle of elderly senators trying to question Mark Zuckerberg at the senate hearings comes to mind.) As VP, Buttigieg would be able to influence these conversations and policy decisions.

Pete’s tech interview on Recode Decode:

5. Women will have a significant place at the table with Joe & Pete.

The biggest objection to Buttigieg as VP is that “it’s time for a woman in the White House!” I am a woman who supported Hillary in ’08 and ’16, and I wanted a female president badly. However, gender should not overrule every other reason for selection of a VP (as outlined here).

A Biden/Buttigieg administration would be enormously beneficial for women’s rights. Pete has a strong policy for empowering women, including a commitment to having at least 50% women in his administration and all his judicial appointments. And he walks the walk. Pete had strong women surrounding him on his Mayoral staff, such as his Chief of Staff in South Bend, Laura O’Sullivan. His campaign staff was dominated by strong women including Lis Smith (Senior Comms Advisor), Nina Smith (travelling press secretary), and Saralina Berry (body woman).

The Vice President is only one role in the administration. What about a woman AG, Sec of State, Chief of Staff, and Press Secretary? I can see Buttigieg advocating for a woman for all of those rolls simultaneously. He’s even discussed having the first woman Sec of Defense.

If Biden announced a woman of color for another critical administration roll along with announcing Pete as VP, it will demonstrate their commitment to having a balanced cabinet. Having a gay man and a woman of color would make for the most diverse ticket ever.

Pete Buttigieg with Senior Comms Advisor Lis Smith

4. Having the first openly gay Vice President would be enormously historic and impactful.

Pundits treat Pete as though he’s not even in the consideration for Biden’s VP because he’s male and white. You’d hardly think this needs to be said, but having the first openly gay vice president would be huge.

LGBTQ rights are under threat more than any other marginalized group. In many states, you cannot be fired for being a woman, or for your race, but you can for being gay. The right for gays to marry was only passed in 2015! And while there have been women and AAs in positions of power, there have been very few openly LGBT — and none in the cabinet. Ever. Yet this minority is erased when it comes to VP selection. STOP IT.

Between women, PoC, and LGBTQ, women and PoC have had FAR more representation in Washington already.

Having Buttigieg on the ticket would be enormously significant historically. It may well drive out people to vote who would normally never vote (as Obama did in 2008). And it’s impact on LGBTQ rights around the world and here at home cannot be overstated.

Biden has always been a strong supporter of LGBTQ rights, and he likely would be proud to advance the cause further by naming a gay VP.

3. Pete is an ideal “bromance” working partner for Biden.

An important consideration that‘s often overlooked is this: Who will get along with the president and make for a strong team? Who shares their values, political philosophy, and jibes with their personality?

Or, as Biden puts it, who is “sympatico”?

Obama and Biden had a great working relationship — a “bromance”, if you will. It’s evident Biden could have a relationship like that with Pete. During Pete’s endorsement of Biden, Biden compared Pete to his son, Beau.

Their political ideas of unifying people around common goals, equality, and inclusion, are similar. They are both men of loving and forgiving hearts who believe deeply in democratic values.

Pete would be an excellent side-kick to Joe. He’s not a glory-hound. He has an attitude of service. He would be happy working hard behind the scenes and doing whatever Joe needed done. This is particularly important due to Biden’s age. He needs a workhorse as a partner.

Between his mayoral role, being an officer in the military, and running his hugely-successful campaign, Pete has proven to be a very capable team leader who leads with his “rules of the road” and brings out the best in people. He can help Biden’s White House be optimally successful and inclusive.

2. Pete could be Joe’s last great contribution to American politics

Biden undoubtedly cares about his legacy. If he wants to have a lasting impact on US politics for decades to come, he couldn’t do better than giving Pete a hand up. Pete is the best of America and will be an era-changing POTUS. But his lack of personal wealth, newness on the national stage, and orientation are challenges. Biden can set Pete up to be the next president.

That’s fricking huge.

Which leads me to my reason #1….

1. Pete is ready to step into the presidency.

The main purpose of the Vice President is to be able to take over the presidency if needed. In the case of Biden, whose age and health are a genuine concern for many voters, and who has already hinted that he would not run again in 2024, it’s absolutely critical.

Who would be ready to assume the presidency on day one if it came to that? Many of the choices bandied about for VP would not be. Either they lack any executive experience, foreign policy/Commander-in-Chief chops, or temperament to be a strong president. Certainly, some of them could rise to the occasion. But that’s risky when Biden’s VP will almost certainly become president.

Pete has demonstrated via his campaign that he’s ready to be president now. In fact, the rigors of the campaign process helped make him ready.

He has the executive experience to run an administration, he understands the moral weight of the presidency, respects the constitution, knows what needs to be fixed in our democracy, would have a cool head in times of crisis, is an excellent orator, spent months doing intensive press interviews, has a flotilla of extensive and brilliant policy plans, is inspiring as a figurehead, and did intensive campaigning where he listened to the American people across the country. As a veteran, he is ready to be Commander-in-Chief and proved to be stronger in foreign affairs than anyone else in the primary— with the possible exception of Biden himself.

His foreign affairs speech:


There is not another person who would bring as much to the campaign for the general election, be as well suited to the work with Biden in the White House, or who is as ready to take over when needed than Pete Buttigieg.

(BONUS: Buttigieg vs Pence VP Debate)

(BONUS #2: Chasten, Jill, Pete and Joe on the White House lawn at the annual Easter egg roll)