With the Presidential election around the corner, democratic candidates from varying levels of government and amounts of experience are gearing up for their chance at beating current president, Donald Trump. Prior to March 1st, one of the eight Democratic candidates still standing was the underdog, Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend Indiana. Pete first announced his campaign in April of 2019, quickly gaining traction due to his young age and his many accomplishments including being a Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, Afghanistan war veteran, and conversational in eight languages including English, Norwegian, Spanish, Italian, Maltese, Arabic, Dari, and French. He was considered a more moderate candidate, with policies that can rally people together rather than dividing them. If he had been elected, Mayor Pete would have also been the first openly gay president in American history, and his husband, Chaston Buttigieg, would be the (first) First Gentleman.
Pete’s team announced his dropping from the race on Sunday, March 1st, much to the surprise of his supporters. Many acknowledge his dropping as a noble move, as it proves his selflessness and ability to see the bigger picture. Most moderates have trouble supporting the current leading candidate for the democratic party, Bernie Sanders due to his “radical” policies and inability to get things done in the Senate, Pete included. Many speculate his dropping was in order to give Joe Biden the edge he needs over Bernie, as Pete supporters are much more likely to support a moderate candidate.
For more insight into Pete’s campaign and ideals, we sat down for a phone interview with Lauren Brown, the communications director for Pete’s campaign in South Carolina, where the most recent caucus took place. She was gracious enough to take time out of her very busy schedule to talk to us and answer questions about Pete’s campaign and how it relates to us, the youth of America.
Q: Why should the young people of America care about Pete’s message since there are other candidates, such as Bernie?
“I think young people should take into consideration the track record of older candidates who have served for decades and decades. Granted they don’t have that comparison to think about Pete but the reality is, Pete is looking to shape the future. He has a bold vision for the future and he’s not a candidate who has held office and talked about what he wanted to do to change. He can make this bright, bold future become a reality, and become a reality in our lifetime.”
Q: Do you think Pete’s age will be an advantage or a disadvantage in the race and when relating to other young people?
A: “In relating to other young people, I think it’s a huge advantage. I think young people often always relate to other young people better, whether it has to do with culture or times shared. Especially with college students, Pete’s age is definitely an advantage. He understands the issues that are important to young people because he’s also grown up in these issues. Young people today have never lived a day in America without a war going on. Pete is the same, he has served our country and is a veteran.”
“On college campuses, young people have spent a lot of time with Pete, and they want to talk about mental health. Pete has a plan, not only just on health care but more specifically mental health and making sure that we have those resources available for the community. Whether the area is urban, low income or high income, mental health is an aspect of life that has gone untalked about in the presidential campaign and unaddressed in society. The youth have higher rates of suicide, need for prescription drugs, cases of anxiety, and these numbers are increasing when we look at younger voters. So I think it’s really important, and it’s something that Pete is talking about. I think it’s probably the most prevalent issue of our generation”.
Q: Why do you personally choose to help run Pete’s campaign over other campaigns for president?
A: “ I am proud to be able to say I’m part of a campaign that has momentum and is led by these amazing women that I respect and try to simulate in my work every day. Pete’s age was also a factor for me, unquestionably. I’ve followed politics for most of my life and I’ve always worked for progressive causes and fought for next generational leadership and Pete inherently represents. It’s an honor to be carrying my personal and professional values on the campaign trail with me this season.”