The notion that Pete Buttigieg, the under-40 gay mayor of a midsize city in Indiana, could become president of the United States seems far-fetched, but apparently it's plausible enough that "Trump whisperer" Salena Zito is hedging her bets, or at least trying to use Buttigieg as a cudgel to beat other Democrats:
How Pete Buttigieg Could Hurt Trump in the Rust Belt
... Mayor Pete, as he likes to be called, strikes a tone that is kinder and less combative than the insult-driven politics of Trump and the Democratic Party's far-left members. His boyish good looks, intelligence and military background are undoubtedly appealing, as is his faith.
"Scripture tells us to look after the least among us, that it also counsels humility and teaches us about what's bigger than ourselves," said Buttigieg, a devout Episcopalian. "It points the way toward an inclusive and unselfish politics that I strive to practice, whether I'm talking about my faith on the stump or not."
Mayor Pete's politics are already gaining traction. Since launching his exploratory committee to run for president on Jan. 23, he has already raised $7 million for his campaign....
The fact that he was born and bred in the American Rust Belt is possibly his biggest asset....
You won't find Buttigieg ridiculing fellow Midwestern voters or taking them for granted, the way Hillary Clinton's campaign did in 2015. After the University of Notre Dame, based in South Bend, invited her to attend their prestigious St. Patrick's Day event, her campaign declined, telling organizers that "white Catholics were not the audience she needed to spend time reaching out to," as The New York Times wrote.
... Jeff Rea, a former Republican mayor from another Indiana town and current president of the South Bend chamber of commerce, said nobody should count out Mayor Pete. He and Buttigieg have been on opposite sides on a number of projects but have "always found a way to come together for a solution."
... No mayor in history has ever run and won his or her party's nomination for president, nor has anyone under the age of 43. Then again, no businessman had ever done it until Trump came along.
Zito sneers at Buttigieg for supporting abortion rights, renewable energy, and some tax increases to pay for social programs, but the self-appointed bard of the heartlanders isn't 100% sure that that's going to be a dealbreaker for Middle America, and it's causing her a bit of cognitive dissonance. I'm sure she'll experience more of a freakout if Kamala Harris, Cory Booker, Elizabeth Warren, or Bernie Sanders wins, but for now she's trying to tell us (and herself) that a Buttigieg victory after Trump's win in 2016 would be continuity, not change. (I don't think so.)
But the right-winger who's really freaking as he watches Buttigieg's apparent ascent is Erick Erickson, who's become fixated on the mayor's claims of religious faith. Erickson lost control on Twitter earlier this week:
I haven't seen a right-winger this obsessed since Legal Insurrection's William Jacobson wrote 16 posts and updates over four days after then-president Barack Obama had the temerity to order a hamburger with Dijon mustard.
Like most conservative white evangelicals, Erickson believes the value of faith is that it allows you to declare moral superiority over everyone who isn't part of your religious tribe, and enables you to demand the marginalization of non-tribe members on earth, particularly in America, and particularly on Election Day. But Erickson isn't sure that's going to work wiuth Buttigieg, so he threw a fit yesterday.
I have mixed feelings about Buttigieg, but if he has these folks off stride, that's a good thing, isn't it?
Republished with permission from No More Mr. Nice Blog