Magazine December 22, 2019, Issue

Pete Buttigieg, Progressive Saint

(Saul Loeb/AFP via Getty Images)
He hasn’t done a lot, but then neither has your minister

Don’t bet against the attractiveness of platitudes, sanctimony, and a vague promise of refreshing the American spirit. It worked in 2008. But Barack Obama had a global financial crisis and war weariness to run against. He also had a way with the electorate. Does Pete Buttigieg? His elevator pitch to American voters is essentially “Obama, But Gay.” Some recent polls have him leading in both Iowa and New Hampshire. His strength seems mainly an indicator of the comically obvious weaknesses of the party’s three stumblin’ septuagenarian front-runners, yet his base of college-educated white Democratic-primary voters were the first ones to

This article appears as “The Li’l Mayor” in the December 22, 2019, print edition of National Review.

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