Editor's note: This article was updated on Jan. 2, 2020 to reflect that Buttigieg is no longer the mayor of South Bend, Indiana.
Pete Buttigieg (it’s boot-edge-edge) knows his name is hard to pronounce. He’s running for president in 2020 anyway.
He’s the millennial, Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar, veteran of Afghanistan, and former mayor of South Bend, Indiana who’s got a ‘DC or bust’ sticker on the back of his car. He'd also be the first openly gay president. A few months ago, he started out as a little-known candidate with a packed resume. Now he's polling third – behind former VP Joe Biden and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-VT).
The Elephant in the Room
He’s not doing so great with black voters, who are a powerful part of the Democratic party. He also made headlines when he got into it with VP Mike Pence – the former governor of Indiana – over Pence’s religious beliefs and support for anti-LGBTQ+ policies. Some say that could hurt his ability to win over moderate and more conservative voters.
The 2020 Policies
On democratic reforms...he wants to get the ball rolling on this within his first 90 days in office (think: getting rid of the Electoral College).
On climate change...he'd go all in on a carbon tax, “quadrupling” (yes, really) the budget for renewable energy R&D, and re-committing the US to the Paris climate deal.
On reproductive rights...he says the government shouldn’t interfere in a woman’s right to choose. And that as president, he would make sure any Supreme Court appointments respect that. He also wouldn’t pursue policies against Planned Parenthood.
On student loans...he feels you – Buttigieg and his husband Chasten have six-figure debt from Chasten going to grad school. He has a few ideas:
Expand access to Pell Grants, a federal program that helps low-income students pay for college
Make it easier to refinance high-interest loans
Create more debt forgiveness programs
On gun reform...yes to universal background checks. And making it harder for domestic abusers to get a firearm.
Buttigieg is the youngest candidate in the race – and is positioning himself as a president who would have a stake in the long-term effects of US policy because he’ll still be alive and kickin’ in a few decades.