What's behind the surging interest in Pete ButtigiegRoundup
tags: Julian Zelizer, 2020 Election, Pete Buttigieg
Julian Zelizer is a professor of history and public affairs at Princeton University and author, with Kevin Kruse, of the new book "Fault Lines: A History of the United States Since 1974." Follow him on Twitter at @julianzelizer.
It looks like Mayor Pete Buttigieg -- a married, gay millennial whom few voters had heard of until a few months ago -- now has a real shot at the Democratic nomination. Who would have thought that the mayor of South Bend, the fourth largest city in Indiana, could compete in one of the most crowded primary fields ever? Buttigieg, who is expected to formally launch his campaign Sunday, has emerged as a formidable candidate.
In retrospect, his unexpected viability makes a lot of sense.
Democrats will select their candidate at a very special moment in American history. The outrage over President Donald Trump -- what he stands for and what he is doing with the office -- is immense. Fury over the way he has used his political power and the support he has maintained from a large swath of the American constituency has energized and mobilized Democrats unlike anything in recent history. Democratic Party voters are desperate to believe in the promise of American politics once again. Many live with the sense of disenchantment in the political system as a result of Trump's election. He is the antithesis of the feeling they had on election night 2008, when it appeared that the nation was moving in the right direction on certain basic questions about the character of the country.
Buttigieg is appealing to many Democrats because he represents a shift back toward this pre-Trump American character. The mayor is intelligent and thoughtful in contrast to the bombast and bluster coming out of the White House. He seems to believe in rational problem-solving and deliberation, not ongoing Twitter rants and attacks. He comes from a new generation and the very fact that his candidacy is real represents huge steps forward that the nation has taken on basic social issues. He also remains something of a mystery, which allows different parts of the Democratic electorate to see things in him that they like. Then there's his Episcopalian faith, which leans to the left rather than being a cynical conservative tool for achieving power.
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