Pete Buttigieg leaves behind historic legacy

Cally Chisholm

This election year has reached new, exciting, and historic heights. I’m referring to Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s run for president, of course. He did drop out before Super Tuesday after facing reality. I admire his discernment and selflessness.

This year has seen highs and lows for the openly gay, multi-lingual, Protestant, Afghanistan veteron Rhodes Scholar who clenched the win in Iowa, but couldn’t keep up with the energy of Bernie Sanders, familiarity of Joe Biden, or the established Elizabeth Warren. 

If Buttigieg had been elected, he would’ve been the youngest president ever and would’ve introduced his husband Chasten as the first gentlemen of the United States. Such a possibility would’ve been an important step forward for the country, but unheard of a few years ago. 

Throughout his rise to popularity, I wasn’t blind to the criticism that he was weak in rallying support from black voters. 

This is an incredibly important voting bloc and anyone who can’t garner support there cannot win. His victory in Iowa only proved his success with white voters, as the state is 90 percent white according to the U.S Census Bureau.

His lack of support from black voters stems from an incident with the former South Bend police chief, who was fired by Buttigieg for recording other officers using racist language. Buttigieg’s firing of the town’s first black police chief will affect his political career for decades to come. 

He also took some heat for attending an event at a wine cave back in December. His visit was used to call him elitist and sympathetic of billionaires. 

Based on an account published in The Washington Post, he was only there for an hour to answer questions and wasn’t seen enjoying the expensive wine. 

I wasn’t expecting him to secure the nomination based on the doubt surrounding his authenticity, but I admit I was rooting for him a little bit. For me personally, I didn’t see his visit to the wine cave as a threat to democracy as Elizabeth Warren suggested. As a small-town mayor, I understand he had to speak to people from all walks of life to gain more exposure.

While some may disagree with me, I think Buttigieg would’ve been a good president. His experience certainly qualifies him. But, I was never dead set on voting for him. In fact, I am still fairly undecided on the remaining candidates. 

It has been disappointing that the party started out with a wide variety of candidates who had different color skin, genders, and backgrounds and now it is most likely that the frontrunners will be old, white men. 

Buttigeig did the mature thing as the youngest candidate and dropped out of the running. He knew that the party needed someone who could vote Donald Trump out of the Oval Office. Amy Klobuchar and Michael Bloomberg also made that same decision not too long after. They all ended up rallying behind Joe Biden in an effort to slow Bernie Sanders.

While both Biden and Sanders are qualified in their own ways, it is frustrating that the more diverse candidates were not able to maintain the same amount of momentum this far along. 

Though he gave his final speech as a presidential candidate last week, this is only the beginning for Mayor Pete. We haven’t seen the last of him, nor the Midwest powerhouse that is Klobuchar.

In Buttigieg’s final address as a 2020 presidential candidate, he states: “We need leadership to heal a divided nation, not drive us further apart. We need a broad-based agenda that can truly deliver for the American people, not one that gets lost in ideology.”

I’m not trying to say that we should vote for someone based on outward appearances, but I was certainly hoping to start seeing and hearing the phrases “Madame President” or “First Gentleman” the next four years.