The race is well and truly on for the Democrat nomination to challenge President Trump in 2002, and it’s already throwing up some unlikely candidates. The unlikeliest so far has to be Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of a small city in Indiana. Is this relative outsider the best hope the Dems have of unseating Trump? Buttigieg thinks he has a real shot at it.
Traditionally, presidential candidates are fresh from serving governors or senators. That gives them the stature and experience parties – and voters – are looking for in a potential commander in chief. There are some exceptions, of course; representatives occasionally throw their hats in the ring, and it’s not unknown for them to make it. After all, Abraham Lincoln became president after a single term in the House. But does the mayor of South Bend, Indiana really stand a chance?
- The 37-year-old mayor spoke to ABC News on Sunday, setting out his stall for what promises to be a hotly competed race. Aware that he’ll be up against people with a lot more political clout, he’s focusing on selling his own experience as a much-needed change.
- According to Buttigieg, the experience of developing and transforming South Bend needs the same skills as running the country. In a thinly veiled swipe at more mainstream politicians, he said any mayor “has the kind of executive, front line, government experience — and by the way, problem-solving experience — that we need more in Washington right now.”
- Buttigieg also discussed his views on major policy issues. He agreed with potential rival Kamala Harris that Medicare for all is a good idea – although like most Democrats he’s vague on how it could be paid for – but thinks there’s still a place for private health insurance, too.
- He also discussed Venezuela, where he agreed with President Trump that the Maduro regime isn’t legitimate, but disagreed about the possibility of using American troops to solve the problem – “I think it is extremely irresponsible to talk about committing American troops to what could wind up being a proxy or war with countries that have claims on Venezuelan oil.”
- From this interview it looks like Buttigieg is chasing the center ground – adopting broadly left-wing policies (socialized medicine, no troops to Venezuela) but with enough to bring many on the center-right on board (private insurance, opposition to Maduro). That might give the small-town mayor an advantage over the increasingly far-left Democrat mainstream.