By Ittai Sopher PZ ’19
On Feb. 27, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, who is just 15 years older than most seniors at the Claremont Colleges, told the Scripps Presents audience that experience is his biggest asset.
“I have more executive experience than the president and the vice president.” Buttigieg said. “I would be the first person with military experience to enter the White House since George H.W. Bush.”
Buttigieg was elected mayor of South Bend, Ind. before he entered his 30s, and came out during a time when there was a ban on gay marriage in Indiana and most states. Buttigieg’s political career also coincided with the ascension of Mike Pence to the governor of Indiana and eventually vice president. Today, as a mayor of a small city, inside a congressional district that voted overwhelmingly for Donald Trump and Pence, Buttigieg remains a vocal critic of the current administration.
“His interpretation of Scripture is pretty different from mine,” Buttigieg said of Pence at Sunday’s CNN town hall, who is openly devout. “My understanding of Scripture is protecting the stranger, and the prisoner and the poor person.”
At the Scripps Presents event, Buttigieg admitted that he always wanted to hold a higher office than the mayor of South Bend.
On his first date with his future-husband, Buttigieg was honest about his lofty goals.
According to Buttigieg, he told his now-husband,“if I had a good two terms as mayor, then I’d look at running for governor.Point being, he got a little more than he bargained for.”
The event, which was moderated by Peter Hamby, the head of news at SnapChat, featured discussions about the benefits of social media for politicians. Although asked about how Buttigieg would use Twitter, he differentiated himself from President Donald Trump.
“You won’t get what you have now,” Buttigieg said. “I’m not gonna be surprising the Pentagon with something that goes out on Twitter.”
Buttigieg also emphasized how his age makes him more connected with the economic needs of Americans.
“I think about the year 2054 when I will be the current age of President Trump,” Buttigieg said. “We have got to change the trajectory that we are on so that mine is not the first generation to be worse off economically than my parents’ was.”
“What we have now is an intergenerational alliance,” Buttigieg said. “I think about the Parkland students, basically calling out those in charge for failing to keep them safe … You saw their parents at their side cheering them on.”
Inch by inch, Buttigieg is making his way onto the national stage. On Sunday, Buttigieg appeared on a CNN town hall with moderators Anderson Cooper and Dana Bash.
On the other hand, in national polls of Democratic voters, support for Buttigieg ranges from zero percent to one percent. According to U.S. News and World Report, The Democratic National Committee will require candidates to poll one percent or higher to qualify for Democratic Party debates, so Buttigieg might be hanging on by a small thread.
“Looks like you’re at two percent,” Hamby joked after Buttigieg was greeted by applause at Scripps.