South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg landed a TIME magazine cover — and a glowing review.
An inspirational headline overlaid a picture of Buttigieg and husband Chasten: “First Family — The unlikely, untested and unprecedented campaign of Mayor Pete Buttigieg,” it read. And, after recounting a time when Buttigieg was harassed by a man wearing a devil costume, the writer asserted that some Americans might see the 2020 Presidential candidate as someone who might “just be the man to vanquish America’s demons.” It continues:
Buttigieg is a gay Episcopalian veteran in a party torn between identity politics and heartland appeals. He’s also a fresh face in a year when millennials are poised to become the largest eligible voting bloc. Many Democrats are hungry for generational change, and the two front-runners are more than twice his age.
Buttigieg is gaining perception as a young, progressive, charismatic answer to Trump, and it is a reputation with which he seems very comfortable. “If the substance of your ideas is progressive, but there’s mistrust about them among conservatives, you have three choices,” he told the magazine:
One is to just change your ideas and make them more conservative. The second is to sort of be sneaky and try to make it seem like your ideas are more conservative than they are. And the third, the approach that I favor, is to stick to your ideas, but explain why conservatives shouldn’t be afraid of them.
And neither TIME nor Buttigieg himself were shy about making a direct comparison:
In many ways, Buttigieg is Trump’s polar opposite: younger, dorkier, shorter, calmer and married to a man. His success may depend on whether Democrats want a fighter to match Trump, or whether Americans want to ‘change the channel,’ as Buttigieg puts it.
‘People already have a leader who screams and yells,’ he says. ‘How do you think that’s working out for us?’
The 4,100-word piece dives into Buttigieg’s childhood, military service, and marriage. He is fighting an almost unprecedented battle against other major Democrat contenders for the Oval Office. Suffolk University Political Research Center Director David Paleologos told Fox “Buttigieg leads Biden, Sanders, and every other Democrat among LGBTQ households — an important demographic for grassroots support and a network of generous and loyal donors.”
With former vice president Joe Biden as the clear front runner according to recent polls, it remains unclear whether Buttigieg has the ability to mount a real challenge for the nomination, and displace his chief rival: Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders. Right now, it is virtually anybody’s game.