President Pete Has A Ring To It

NBC News, MSNBC and Telemundo will host the first 2020 presidential primary debate in June of 2019. This is the first in a series of BFIA’s coverage and commentary of the announcement speeches by the declared Democratic candidates for president for 2020.

Sunday Mayor Pete Buttigieg announced his candidacy for president of the United States from his home town of South Bend, Indiana in front of an enthusiastic, cheering crowd.  This is historically significant as he is the first openly gay candidate to run for the office.  While he did not make being gay the centerpiece of his speech, he made no attempt to keep anyone in the dark about the fact of it and very conventionally introduced his husband, Chasten, to his supporters.  Btw, they have two rescue dogs, Buddy and Truman.

Everyone knows him as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana but it is less well known that Pete served as a lieutenant in the U.S. Navy Reserve and took an unpaid seven-month leave during his mayoral term to deploy to Afghanistan. For his counter-terrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.  He was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford and a graduate of Harvard University.   Link

I found his announcement to be an honest, thoughtful, well-constructed speech. Conventional in some ways, unconventional in others.   He was not edgy in tone, but he was crystal clear on where he stands.  I liked that he provided his vision of the way forward without using boring, cliche Democratic talking points.  He was able to be positive while letting us know that he gets the urgency of our current moment. I got the feeling he is up to the challenge of getting our country moving forward in the post-Trump era.

That’s why I’m here today. To tell a different story than make America great again.  Because there’s a myth being sold to industrial and rural communities. They’re selling an impossible promise of returning to a bygone era. They’re telling us to look for greatness in all the wrong places.. It is time to walk away from the politics of the past and walk toward something totally different. So that’s why I’m here today.

I recognize the audacity of doing this as a midwestern millennial mayor… at age 37 to seek the highest office in the land.. Up until recently, this is not exactly what I had in mind either for how I was going to spend my 8th year as mayor and 38th year in this world. But we live in a moment that compels us each to act. The forces changing our country today are tectonic. The forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That’s why this time it’s not just about winning an election. It’s about winning an era.

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