History was made in South Bend Indiana Sunday as 37-year-old Mayor Pete Buttigieg officially announced that he was running for president of the United States.
In a highly-publicized speech, the two-term mayor called for a new era in politics and appeared on stage in a warm embrace with his husband as thousands cheered on. It was an image never before seen in American political history.
“I realize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern, millennial mayor,” Buttigieg said in a not-so-subtle nod to former President Barack Obama.
The young politician with an odd-sounding name stood, shirt sleeves rolled up, before a packed and energized crowd.
“My name is Pete Buttigieg..... and I’m running for president of the United States,” he said as the crowd roared.
At times self-effacing, and at times challenging, Buttigieg said the time for both liberalism and conservatism is over.
The Harvard graduate and Rhodes Scholar challenged the policies of the Trump Administration and said his campaign can be summed in three words: freedom, democracy and security.
“There is more to security than putting up a wall,” Buttigieg said.
He issued several policy proposals from the podium, as he called for universal health care and the end of the electoral college. Buttigieg has never been shy about framing the debate around the issues that will face members of his generation for decades to come, noting his generation grew up with school shootings. He also brought up that millennials will also be on the business end of climate change for the rest of their lives, and called on Republicans to stop downplaying the issue.
“If you don’t like our plan, show us yours,” he said.
Beginning in the early morning hours, hundreds of people stood in the cold and pouring rain for hours. Among them was Tim Stride, who drove in from Chicago for the event. Just six months ago Buttigieg wasn’t on his radar, but now the young mayor has his attention.
“Once you look at him,” said Stride, “he’s the guy.”
Another man, Joe Ruff, drove in from Omaha and said, “I came here to watch history being made.”
Buttigieg’s candidacy is one based on making history. At 37, he would be the youngest person ever elected president if he were to win, and he would also become the first openly-gay person to ever be elected to the office.
When Buttigieg asked those assembled, “Are you ready to turn the page and start a new chapter?” the answer was a resounding affirmative. And on that note, Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten, appeared on stage, serving as a testament not just to seismic changes in America’s politics but in its culture as well.