In less than three months, Pete Buttigieg, the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend Indiana, (population 102,000), has gone from political anonymity to the top tier of candidates in the Democratic race for president of the United States.
What accounts for Mayor Pete’s blast out of the political gate? His resume certainly ticks the boxes: Harvard graduate, Rhodes scholar, McKinsey consultant, and Afghanistan war veteran. And his performance as mayor of South Bend is by all accounts successful; he won 80% of the vote in his reelection campaign – months after coming out as gay. As the first prominent millennial candidate for president, Mayor Pete embodies his slogan, “It’s time for a new generation of American leadership.” And with his nerdy, earnest, shirt-sleeve persona he is the polar opposite of Donald Trump.
But I would argue that Mayor Pete has an X-factor that is greater than the sum of those parts: an Integral sensibility. Evident in his campaign biography, Shortest Way Home, as well as his recent media appearances, is a big-hearted, deeply perceptive, flex-flow mind that is able to hold multiple perspectives and to authentically respect the people advocating for them.
I hope you enjoy this analysis of America’s newest political star, Mayor Pete Buttigieg, and his impact on our presidential politics.