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Reports: Teen Buttigieg Was Voted 'Most Likely to Become President'

by Kilian Melloy
Monday Apr 22, 2019
Pete Buttigieg
Pete Buttigieg  (Source:Associated Press)

Pete Buttigieg became mayor of South Bend, Indiana, at age 29, a feat that made him the youngest mayor in America of a city of that size. But if a high school yearbook is to be believed, Mayor Pete is also a favorite pick to become president of the United States, reported political news site The Hill.

As a high school senior in the year 2000, Buttigieg received that vote of confidence from his schoolmates, reported ABC News. But the candidate possessed the common touch then just as much as he does now, according to South Bend resident Katie Kowals, a nurse, whose brother-in-law knew Buttigieg in school.

Said Kowals, "He was exactly as he is now."

Indeed: As the ABC News report noted, photos in the old yearbook show Buttigieg "often pictured wearing a white shirt, tie and no jacket, which has also become his current political uniform."

ABC went on to say that Buttigieg is "a self-proclaimed 'millennial mayor,'" who "speaks six languages and claims to be the antithesis of President Donald Trump."

But to millions of Americans, he's also a breath of fresh air in a stifling political climate where deep divisions distrust have contributed to an atmosphere of intense partisanship. His campaign may not be an elaborately engineered machine, and his experience as a politician may be limited, but to some, those are points in his favor that speak to his energy and authenticity.

"We want to build a campaign that's a little disruptive, kind of entrepreneurial. Right now, it feels like a startup," Buttigieg's campaign manager — a high school friend named Mike Schmuhl - told the Associated Press.

Just as central to Buttigieg's image of genuineness is his openness about his personal and family life. Not only is Buttigieg a Millennial who became a Rhodes scholar and enlisted in the military, but he's also an openly gay man who talks about his marriage and the plans he and husband Chasten have to become fathers.

Critics point to Buttigieg's youth and lack of detailed policy positions, but the 2020 contender seems to be resonating with the American electorate. Though virtually unknown a couple of months ago, ABC News noted, Buttigieg has now become a swiftly-rising star in the Democratic firmament.

Among his other accomplishments: Raising $7 million in the year's first quarter, and coming in third in a pair of recent straw polls gauging interest in Democratic candidates to take on Trump in next year's elections.

For his part, the current president has said that he'd " like running against" Buttigieg.

The 37-year-old politician has made his youth a talking point, observing that his generation is going to be affected by the impact of climate change and economic stagnation — a situation that calls for committed and effective leadership.

Buttigieg's recent appearances in Iowa generated such interest that venues could not contain all the supporters who showed up, a separate ABN News story said.

But not everyone at those rallies was there to cheer Buttigieg on or to engage with him in discussions of policy; some showed up to hurl anti-LGBTQ abuse. The candidate took it in stride.

As Buttigieg was talking about the freedom to marry, a heckler shouted, "Remember Sodom and Gomorrah, Pete!," Without losing a beat, Buttigieg turned the interruption into a talking point of its own, saying, "Speaking of things that are at stake that do not belong to a single political party..."

Buttigieg, who has made no secret of his devout Christian faith, has gone on record as questioning the president's purported religious convictions and critiquing Vice President Pence's religiously-motivated anti-LGBTQ stance.

"You know, the good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God," Buttigieg told his supporters later in the same speech, "but the Iowa caucuses are up to you."

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor. He also reviews theater for WBUR. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.


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