What Does “Mayor Pete” Actually Believe In?
2020 Contender Pete Buttigieg’s Unlikely Rise to Stardom, Despite Vague Policy Proposals
Identity politics has found a new ringmaster, and the major parties should take note if they hope to win the White House in 2020. Pete Buttigieg or “Mayor Pete” burst onto the scene with no name recognition, but in the time since has become a Democratic star, officially announcing his run for the Presidency on Sunday. Buttigieg has risen quickly in an overflowing Democratic field and is currently polling third in Iowa and New Hampshire.
How does a guy (who virtually no one outside of South Bend, Indiana, has ever heard of) suddenly position himself on top of a formidable pool of Democratic veterans? Well, in a country where Presidential candidates can stay in the race almost to the end of the primaries without publishing concrete policy ideas on their campaign website, you appeal to most people with your personality, or identity.
“Mayor Pete’s resume seems short, but the list of policies on his presidential campaign website is much shorter. In fact, it doesn’t exist.”
And that’s how Mayor Pete has found himself in a three-way race with Bernie Sanders and Joe Biden. Without policy chops like Bernie Sanders or Tulsi Gabbard, a contender newer to the national political stage will need to depend heavily on being able to relate to the most demographics, whether by immutable characteristics or by virtue of personality.
Mayor Pete’s resume seems short, but the list of policies on his presidential campaign website is much shorter. In fact, it doesn’t exist. Buttigieg seems to be taking the strategy of other top Democrats like Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, and Beto O’Rourke — focusing on platitudes without real, concrete policy ideas.
We know via public statements that Pete wants to abolish the electoral college, hold businesses accountable to community action based on a sliding income scale, institute a mandatory one year of National Service (a draft) after graduating high school (by law or by social norm), healthcare reform, and immigration reform via a pathway to citizenship for DREAMers and increased border security.
The Establishment Media’s Hatred for Tulsi Gabbard — Explained
Hawaii Representative Tulsi Gabbard has been the victim of a slew of establishment media attacks since she announced…
However, like the policy list on Buttigieg’s website, details for these plans are non-existent. His campaign has put together an extensive online design toolkit, with hundreds of logos, color variations, and other marketing materials, but has reduced the information about the candidate himself to a single page.
Mayor Pete has said that he wants the American public to elect him based on his morality and trust him to figure out the “how-to’s” as he goes.
In an interview with Vice, Buttigieg pushed back on a question about his lack of policy experience, saying “Part of where the left and the center-left have gone wrong is that we’ve been so policy-led that we haven’t been as philosophical…I’m working very hard not to put the cart before the horse.”
Joe Biden: Appealing to No One, yet Somehow Everyone
Why Biden’s Neoliberal Record Could Be His Downfall
That’s not to say Mayor Pete isn’t a legitimate presidential contender, or this his lack of policy stances is unique. Kamala Harris, a candidate continually hailed as a front-runner by the mainstream media, has a website with a donation page and a shop, but no policy proposals beyond a transcript of a speech she gave when she announced. Many candidates have done the same thing.
Mayor Pete’s resume, although off to an impressive start, is a quick read. After college, he worked at McKinsey and Company as a consultant. He was elected mayor of South Bend, IN at age 29. While Mayor of the town of 100,000 residents, Buttigieg took a seven-month leave to serve with the American military. He speaks Arabic and worked in counter-terrorism. He was awarded the Joint Service Commendation Medal for his work in Afghanistan.
Buttigieg took over as mayor with the city amidst a housing crisis. Crime rates were up, wages were down, and people were leaving South Bend in droves. Mayor Pete took a pro-active approach and started knocking down the city’s staggering numbers of abandoned and condemned homes. When some of his poorest constituents explained he was exacerbating the problem in some ways, Pete didn’t dig in his heels. He listened and implemented changes to his plan that would benefit more people.
The economy has picked up too, thanks in large to the opening of a new casino pumping millions of dollars annually into South Bend’s coffers. Pete has been on an eight-year mission to revitalize the town and many of his constituents love how he’s looking toward the future.
Some, however, feel as if they’ve been left in the past. South Bend has an enormous racial disparity leaving many to worry about the gentrification of their neighborhoods. Black Americans living in South Bend make half what it’s white residents make, and 1/4 of the town (over 25,000 people) lives in poverty.
After his college career, and before his personal political debut as mayor, Buttigieg spent his time as a consultant with McKinsey and Company — the world’s largest and most powerful consulting firm, with over 2,000 consultants employed in 126 countries.
Pete boasts of his union with McKinsey as a “great time of learning.” But learning what? McKinsey has been embroiled in controversy across the globe and blamed for various indecent business acts throughout its inception. McKinsey has been accused of “turbocharging the opioid epidemic” in America and influencing Chinese businesses to build artificial islands in the South China Sea. McKinsey has also worked extensively with Saudi Arabia, Russia, and Ukraine. The company is highly exclusive and highly secretive, but more importantly, highly influential.
Despite his few shortfalls, Mayor Pete is a formidable 2020 contender, and if he doesn’t make it all the way to the White House, he’s an intriguing choice for VP and his potency as a candidate shouldn’t be overlooked. He appeals to a broad base, he’s from the mid-west, he’s handsome, articulate, interesting, and energetic. Both parties will do well not to underestimate Buttigieg or they may hear themselves calling him by a new nickname in a year and a half — “President Pete.”
Secret Coran-Stacy is a best-selling author, entrepreneur, and a senior contributor to CitizenSource, writing with a focus on U.S. elections and politics, media criticism, and illegal immigration. She hails from Little Rock, Arkansas.
Want to join CitizenSource? Email us: firstname.lastname@example.org.