The mayor of the midsized city of South Bend, Indiana, is hoping to rise above his minimal name recognition to seize the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination and clinch his spot in history as the youngest and first openly gay president of the United States.
Pete Buttigieg announced Wednesday morning that he’s launched a presidential exploratory committee. His ad, which directly goes after President Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” slogan, has already racked up over 350,000 views.
“The reality is there’s no going back and there’s no such thing as again in the real world,” Buttigieg says in the video. “We can’t look for greatness in the past. Right now, our country needs a fresh start.”
The 37-year-old mayor would definitely be a fresh face. He’s a Navy veteran who served in Afghanistan, and he’s also a Millennial, which gives him a leg up with the largest voting pool. Buttigieg sees his youth as a strength.
“I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now,” he says in the ad. “We’re the generation that lived through school shootings, that served in the wars after 9/11, and we’re the generation that stands to be the first to make less than our parents unless we do something different.”
Watch the video below:
I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future. Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 23, 2019
The Indiana mayor doesn’t mention his sexuality in his presidential launch but does show images of him with his husband, Chasten.
— Chasten Buttigieg (@Chas10Buttigieg) January 23, 2019
As fate would have it, Buttigieg’s announcement comes just one day after the Supreme Court allowed Trump’s ban on transgender military personnel to go through. As an LGBT veteran, Buttigieg’s identity itself is already in contrast to the current administration’s ideals.
Vice President Mike Pence has notoriously pushed for anti-LGBT legislation throughout his political career. Recently, Pence and his wife, Karen Pence, came under fire after the second lady went to work part-time at a Christian school that discriminates against LGBT teachers, parents, and students.
Buttigieg called out his fellow Hoosier on Twitter and brought up his past in Christian education.
I am a product of Christian education. At no point in that (excellent) education was I taught that gay employees should be fired or gay students expelled. But we did learn a lot about Pharisees… https://t.co/CuaI3qNYas
— Pete Buttigieg (@PeteButtigieg) January 18, 2019
But according to a profile published in The Washington Post last week, Buttigieg isn’t as interested in being the “first gay” anything as he is interested in the opportunity to cover a variety of issues.
“Along the way, the party fell into this pattern of thinking we should have a message for each constituency,” he told the Post. “But the reality is that people care about issues that aren’t ‘their’ issues, quote unquote. Elderly residents care about education. Suburban women care about racial justice. Young people care about social programs for the elderly.”
Buttigieg’s greatest struggle will be entering an ever-growing pool of major Democrats with more name recognition than the Indiana mayor can hope for. But he has made some waves already with ever-growing views on his announcement video and his name being a trending topic on Twitter on Wednesday. The Millennial underdog might have a shot.