Pete Buttigieg 2020?

Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, is the latest entrant into the 2020 race for President. To say is a long-shot is an understatement.

Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has announced his campaign for the Democratic nomination for President:

Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Ind., announced on Wednesday that he was entering the Democratic presidential primary, embarking on a long-shot campaign that may test the appeal of a youthful, Midwestern profile over more traditional qualifications for the presidency.

In an email to potential supporters, Mr. Buttigieg (he pronounces it BOOT-edge-edge) said he was forming an exploratory committee and cast himself as a candidate of the future, stressing his generational identity and calling for policies “untethered to the politics of the past” on issues like climate and economic opportunity.

“What will America look like in 2054, when I reach the age of the current president?” Mr. Buttigieg said. “How will we look back on 2020?”

He also released an introductory video.

A veteran of the war in Afghanistan, Mr. Buttigieg was a consultant at McKinsey before entering politics.

It is unclear whether a municipal executive who oversees a city of about 100,000 people can be a viable candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination. While several other current or former mayors are considering campaigns, they all hail from iconic American cities like Los Angeles, New Orleans and New York, and have records of managing sprawling bureaucracies or navigating major crises. Mr. Buttigieg has a far more modest record to draw upon.

Mr. Buttigieg began to draw national notice in the aftermath of the 2016 presidential election, delivering an essay, “A Letter from Flyover Country,” that counseled Democrats on how to recover from their defeats that year. Mr. Buttigieg ran unsuccessfully to chair the Democratic National Committee, withdrawing before the vote in the winter of 2017.

He has traveled the country since then campaigning for fellow Democrats, drawing largely favorable media coverage and making little secret of his interest in higher office — and perhaps the highest office.

“The Democratic Party matters more than ever, now that a hostile takeover of the Republican Party has brought to power a thin-skinned authoritarian who is not liberal, nor conservative, nor moderate,” Mr. Buttigieg wrote in his post-election essay, urging: “We need to be ready to put forward a better way.”

Mr. Buttigieg, who is gay, also chided Democrats, after the 2016 election, for being overly focused on the presidency, at the expense of competing for important state and local offices.

Here’s the video Buttigieg released:

Quite obviously, Buttigieg is a long-shot candidate who more likely than not is hoping to use the national campaign to make a name for himself in the Democratic Party in a manner that could lead to something such as a future Cabinet appointment, or possibly even a position as the running mate to whomever the nominee might end up being. That second possibility seems like a long-shot as well, but one never knows I suppose. In any case, welcome to the race, Mayor Buttigieg, good luck with what seems like a long shot.

FILED UNDER: 2020 Election, Afghanistan War, The Presidency, US Politics, , , , , , , , ,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug Mataconis held a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010 and contributed a staggering 16,483 posts before his retirement in January 2020. He passed far too young in July 2021.


  1. Kylopod says:

    If John Hickenlooper wins the nomination and picks this guy as his running mate….

    Nuff said.

    (Comment edited to include link embedded in text — DM)

  2. gVOR08 says:

    I’ve been keeping a list of D candidates that someone has at least talked about. This guy is number 23, and I’ve likely missed a few. No obvious D front runner and Trump’s blood in the water. I don’t envy Tom Perez having to sort out the first debates.

  3. Daryl and his brother Darryl says:


  4. Franklin says:

    From a town that’s chock full of white Catholic boys wearing MAGA hats. Interesting.

  5. Kathy says:

    Sometimes I think politicians should do as movie and TV actors, and take names with more appeal. It’s not unprecedented. The former Saxe-Coburg and Gotha family changed their name to Windsor just about a century ago. Closer, who has ever heard of William J. Blythe? (well, in here I’d expect a few).

  6. Kathy says:

    @Daryl and his brother Darryl:

    Just don’t say it thrice 🙂

  7. Gustopher says:

    @Kathy: I am pretty sure that Vermin Supreme changed his name to be more appealing.

  8. Gustopher says:

    In an email to potential supporters, Mr. Buttigieg (he pronounces it BOOT-edge-edge)

    He can pronounce it however he wants, I’m going to pronounce it “Booty Gag”

  9. Neil J Hudelson says:

    While I agree that his is the longest of long shots, his run could be very interesting, especially in such a crowded field. Pete has the charisma to go into a room full of strangers and walk out with 99 out 100 of them ready to follow him wherever he leads. And while in a just and rationale world, experience would be the number one quality in electing the next leader of the free world, I think the last two years of politics has taught us that Americans will follow charisma over, well, just about anything else.

    In such a crowded field, the first two debates are going to make or break most campaigns. And we’ve learned that when Pete’s on stage with staid politicians, he runs circles around them.

    I would put him at the top of the bottom of the pack, which is not a bad starting point when you are 37 years old, look 17, and your strongest experience is managing a small rustbelt city.

  10. Kylopod says:

    @Kathy: Some years ago if you asked Siri who was president in a particular year, she would tell you the president’s birth name rather than the name he was best known for: So, yes, Clinton was identified as William Jefferson Blythe III, Ford was Leslie King, and so on.

  11. Kylopod says:
  12. CSK says:

    I defy any broadcaster to enunciate the words “Today, President BOOT-edge-edge…” without breaking down into helpless giggles.

  13. Kathy says:


    Ford was Leslie King

    I’d no idea. I just went with two I knew offhand.

  14. Kylopod says:

    You can get people to forget your real name. Willard Mitt Romney did. So did Newton Leroy Gingrich. I find those examples kind of interesting in that they both preferred to go by weird names instead of dorky ones.

    For that matter, Obama could have gone by the name Barry. It’s what his friends call him. And presidents often go by pet forms of their first name (Bill Clinton, Jimmy Carter). Curiously I’ve found that right-wingers are the most likely to refer to him as Barry, and whenever you hear anyone call him “Barry Soetoro” (after his stepfather in Indonesia), you know it’s a birther. What’s weird is the that right-wingers are using “Barry” to make Obama sound more alien. I bet if Obama had gone by the name Barry, the righties would be calling him “Barack” at every opportunity.

  15. Kylopod says:
  16. Kathy says:


    “What’s in a name? That which we call shit by any other word, would not still be Trump’s brain?” from the Lost Prophecies of W. Shakespeare.

  17. Gustopher says:
  18. Just nutha ignint cracker says:

    @Neil J Hudelson: The Democrats could certainly do worse–and have.

  19. Teve says:

    A gay man named Buttigieg will surely not be crudely joked about by those dignified, erudite Republicans.

  20. Neil Hudelson says:


    Of course. Just as they crudely joked about the black man with the Muslim-y name.

  21. Teve says:

    just watched Buttigieg’s interview with Chris hayes–good stuff. I could definitely support that guy for president.

  22. Scott F. says:


    That interview with Hayes? Wow!

  23. Tony Robinson says:

    Kamala Harris is the nominee.

    Not will be. Is.

    Look at the media coverage. There are only a handful of viable people with their hats in the ring, but the candidate has been chosen.

    Beto? CNN already ran the White Privilege piece against him.
    Warren? SNL is mocking her for the DNA test.
    Bernie? Old. White. Residual anger from the last election.
    Hillary? Seriously? Just stop.
    Harris. Has there been any even remotely negative press about her recently? I don’t think so.

    The nominee won’t be a white male, not even a gay one. Doesn’t fit Democrat messaging.

    A colored woman will be running against Trump. A colored woman checks too many boxes for the nominee to be anything else.

    Barring some truly devastating information, it’s Harris.

    Discussing anyone else is pointless.

  24. Tyrell says:

    He should run as “the mayor of South Bend, the home of Notre Dame” and wear ND stuff. That could get him a lot of votes.
    The rumors now are that the Assistant Dog Catcher of Hooterville is considering running. He says that he will run as an extreme moderate, favors free enterprise socialism, and more secure crossings at schools.

  25. Kylopod says:

    LOL! One of the 538 people in a recent podcast pronounced his name “BUTT-a-jidge.”

    If he somehow ends up on the Democratic ticket next year, I can only begin to imagine what Trump will call him.