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Pete Buttigieg: Everything you need to know about the 2020 candidate

Pete Buttigieg.
Photo: Joshua Lott for The Washington Post via Getty Images

If elected, Pete Buttigieg (boot-a-judge, often referred to as “Mayor Pete”), the 37-year-old mayor of South Bend, Indiana, would be the youngest U.S. president ever. He also would be the first openly gay president in the nation's history. Buttigieg came out publicly in an essay in the South Bend Tribune during his 2015 re-election campaign.

Key facts about Buttigieg

  • Age: 37
  • Born: South Bend, Indiana
  • Undergraduate: Harvard University (BA), Oxford University (BA)
  • Date candidacy announced: Announced on April 14, 2019 in South Bend. Announced his exploratory committee Jan. 23, 2019.
  • Previous roles: Mayor of South Bend, Indiana. Began serving in the U.S. Navy Reserve in 2009 and was deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Previously worked for McKinsey & Company.

Buttigieg's stance on key issues

  • College costs: Has concerns about soaring student debt and believes college is too expensive for "too many people." He supports expanding the Public Service Loan Forgiveness program that clears loans in exchange for public service work.
  • Climate change: Supports the Paris climate agreement and the Green New Deal, and he thinks climate change is a national security threat. He is supportive of government-subsidized solar panels.
  • Capitalism: Says he is a capitalist, but that democracy is "more important" than capitalism: "If you want to see what happens when you have capitalism without democracy, you can see it very clearly in Russia."
  • Guns: He is a member of Mayors Against Illegal Guns and supports universal background checks and banning guns in schools.
  • Health care: Supports single-payer health care, but wants to transition to the model via an all-payer rate-setting, which would not eliminate private insurance companies.
  • Immigration: Buttigieg supports providing a pathway to citizenship for Dreamers, a local network. When speaking on Meet the Press about making South Bend a "welcoming city" for immigrants, Buttigieg said ICE is "tearing families apart."
  • Discrimination: He supports updating the Civil Rights Act of 1964 to explicitly apply non-discrimination protections to the LGBTQ community.
  • Abortion: Said on Meet the Press that abortion is a "question that is almost unknowable ... a moral question that is not going to be settled by science. So the best way for it to be settled in practice is by the person who actually faces the choice."
  • Supreme Court: Open to having more than 9 Supreme Court justices.
  • Electoral college: Supportive of abolishing it.

Key criticisms of Buttigieg

  • Youth: Buttigieg says being a millennial candidate would be a benefit, rather than a hurdle. He contends he has more of a "personal appreciation" for student debt as well as the stakes of climate change.
  • Lack of national profile: Amid a Democratic field crowded with recognizable political heavy-weights, a Morning Consult poll found in March that Buttigieg was the top candidate for only 1% of voters.
    • Yes, but: His poll numbers are looking up. In April he placed 3rd in Iowa and New Hampshire, the first two states to hold Democratic primaries.
  • Police recordings: Buttigieg demoted his police chief and fired the police communications director for illegally recording police officers' phone calls that allegedly revealed officers making racist comments.

1 fun thing about Buttigieg

  • Buttigieg was a Rhodes scholar and speaks multiple languages, including French, Spanish, Italian, Norwegian, Maltese, Arabic and Dari.

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