The animosity of Amy Klobuchar towards Pete Buttigieg on display last night during the Las Vegas debates will likely heighten in the wake of many seeing Buttigieg's performance as "more presidential" than hers and now Buttigieg's endorsement by the San Diego Union Tribune in a lengthy and reasoned editorial. While I remain conflicted in some ways as to which candidate to back - a friend had us to a Bloomberg event on Tuesday yet I have donated to Buttigieg - the Union-Tribune's reasoning makes the case as to why Buttigieg may be the one who can defeat Trump. Yes, the Trump base will never vote for a gay politician, but then again, they will never vote for a Democrat. Any Democrat. Thus, the question becomes whether Americans of good will (I believe they are still in the majority) will vote for a gay man just as they voted for Barack Obama. We need a generational change in the leadership of this nation. My generation and the even older one of many of the Democrat candidates has left America truly damaged. Here are highlights as to why the Union-Tribune sees Buttigieg as the best choice:
Among the biggest questions in the 2020 presidential election are these:How will liberals, moderates and independents winnow the Democratic field in the primary election on March 3 when California and 14 other states and territories vote on Super Tuesday?
If the economy stays strong through the general election, can any Democrat defeat Donald Trump, who is building that wall, claims to be the most pro-life president in U.S. history and who in three years has already ensured conservative dominance of federal courts for generations?
What would the United States even look like in 2024 if Trump is re-elected on Nov. 3? It might be unrecognizable.
America is at a crossroads, even if that is of little or less concern to conservatives given their judicial and social gains under Trump. The sad truth is that four more years of
PresidentDonald Trump mean the White House will keep alienating allies, ignoring climate change, sabotaging institutions, tolerating cruelty on Twitter and in real life, and vilifying immigrants at the heart of the American story.
The alternative is a nation that rebuilds its good standing globally and restores decency to a presidency bereft of it while also moving toward a more expansive health care system, more comprehensive and humane immigration reform, reduced carbon emissions, increased gun safety, less national debt and an economy that works for everyone.
There are essentially two paths forward for Democrats, but one on the far left may alienate too many Americans to constitute progress. A middle road is more likely to bring Americans together.
Two candidates can lead the nation down that road with success: Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar, 59, and former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, 38. Both are relatively young, have a Midwestern appeal and will try to work across the aisle — Klobuchar has passed more than 100 bipartisan bills in three terms in the U.S. Senate, Buttigieg emphasizes “how it’s being done” is as important as what gets done, and underscores a need to not have “some kind of equal-and-opposite meanness.” Their approaches paid off in the first two states to vote. . . . . They would also be trailblazers, as the first woman president or first gay president.
It’s close, but in the view of The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, Buttigieg is best suited to beat Trump because of his centrist policies, his military experience, his (admittedly small-scale) executive experience and the enthusiasm he’s inspired, with better fundraising and national polling, bigger campaign crowds and more news coverage than Klobuchar. He has shown he can manage a national campaign successfully. And in a nation that only legalized same-sex marriage in 2015, his message of generational change could actually inspire change.
Of the six strong Democratic candidates left, half are 77- or 78-year-old men, two are women, one of whom is 70, and then there is Buttigieg. He may have only been mayor of the fourth-largest city in Indiana, but his fresh approach is transformational. He came out in an op-ed in a local newspaper while seeking reelection in 2015, choosing his ability to love openly over his presumed ability to advance more easily in politics.
At this early stage of the 2020 election, what is clear (and what fills us with hope) is that voters seem more eager to choose a moderate candidate than a progressive candidate to beat Trump. The San Diego Union-Tribune Editorial Board, which is generally centrist and highly critical of Trump’s harsh rhetoric and evisceration of civic norms, evaluated the field this month and decided that our endorsement would go to either Buttigieg or Klobuchar.
Sanders inspires passion among those who want dramatic changes but in our view is too far to the left and there are lingering concerns about his health after a heart attack. Former Vice President Joe Biden was solid in that role, but he has been an uninspiring candidate every time he’s run for president; in this cycle, he has seemed uneven and out of touch with modern America and its political climate.
Former New York Mayor Mike Bloomberg . . . his overdue and ultimately inadequate disavowal of discriminatory stop-and-frisk policies, combined with comments in 2008 about the value of “redlining” and in 2015 about the value of Xeroxing descriptions of “male minorities 15 to 25,” and throwing young men of color “against the wall,” gave us greater pause.
Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren is an intellectual giant with a mountain of policy proposals, displaying a tremendous preparation for the job, but her Medicare for All proposal ultimately proved a bridge too far for us, particularly when she mishandled the rollout of the details of its cost. Sweeping changes make sense, but they must be sold to the public, not imposed.
That led us to Klobuchar and Buttigieg. Importantly, she has something that he lacks: experience in Washington, D.C., and a long record of bipartisanship. But a report in The New York Times that she is a demanding and “often dehumanizing” boss is troubling. And her prior career as an aggressive prosecutor is worrisome in an era when the long-term fallout from the overly harsh punishment of redeemable people has given new momentum to criminal justice reform. . . . Nekima Levy Armstrong, a civil rights lawyer and former president of the Minneapolis chapter of the NAACP, told The Washington Post. “Rather than taking steps to help mitigate some of those concerns and issues, during her tenure in office, her policies exacerbated the situation.”
Questions about African American support have also dragged on Buttigieg, whose record as mayor shows his top staff didn’t mirror his city’s diversity and includes a controversy with an African American police chief whom Buttigieg demoted. But the way Buttigieg addressed the fatal shooting of a black man by a white officer in his hometown during this campaign suggests he’ll approach tests directly — that he’ll show up and step up.
Michael Patton, president of the local NAACP chapter, supports him, saying, “Pete is someone who has done significant work in our community.”
Then there’s something progressives should keep in mind: Buttigieg is running as a moderate, but he points out his “Medicare for all who want it” proposal would make him the most progressive president in 50 years. He also points out that when Democrats have been elected to the White House in that span, they have been young, first-time presidential candidates who were new to the national scene and “calling the country to its highest values.” He offers a message of hope and change when the nation needs both.
There’s lots to like about Buttigieg, so let’s look at what may make some voters uncomfortable.
Should his age matter? French President Emmanuel Macron was elected at age 39. The president of El Salvador, Nayib Bukele, and the prime minister of New Zealand, Jacinda Ardern, were 37 when they were elected. So … no, relative youth shouldn’t matter.
Lastly, his sexuality. Buttigieg’s election would be something to celebrate because it would smash a ceiling and inspire a range of people to be themselves, but his sexuality is irrelevant to this job, to any job.
There are some people who will say Americans won’t elect a gay president. As they said of Barack Obama that Americans wouldn’t elect a black president. As they say of Klobuchar and Warren (and said of popular vote winner Hillary Clinton) that Americans won’t elect a woman president.
That is true only until it isn’t. . . . . People who discount Buttigieg because of his sexuality are just behind the times. People who discount him because of his youth or inexperience are just behind another candidate. That can change quickly, too, as votes get counted and campaigns get suspended ahead of a convention.
The New York Times Editorial Board asked Buttigieg how he would balance his devout Episcopalian faith with his duties as commander in chief, and he showed both his wisdom and his eloquence: “I think you have to accept the reality that you are living and working in a broken world just as we are all broken human beings and try to order your steps in a way that brings greater good than harm.”
That resonated with us, for its lofty rhetoric and grounding in humanity and hope: “greater good.”
It’s time for a generational change. It’s time to make America good again. Vote Pete Buttigieg for president of the United States.