BY ELENA VALDEZ
President Donald Trump’s first term is coming to a close, and with that comes the president’s prospective opponents for the 2020 election.
As of April 14, 2019, Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana Pete Buttigieg has officially entered the race for the next presidency. Within the first four hours of his announcement, the Buttigieg 2020 campaign raised over $1 million according to his spokeswoman Lis Smith. Voters are already showing their support for the Indiana mayor’s bid for the presidency.
Buttigieg has gained popularity in the past months as people speculated as to whether or not he would run. In this speculation, he gained quite the following. This following can be partially attributed to the fact that he is the first-ever openly gay Democratic presidential candidate.
That is not to say he is just running for the LGBT+ community. When asked by CNBC’s John Harwood on the matter, he simply stated he was running to represent all groups, not just one.
“Being gay is part of who I am, and it’s part of my story and it has shaped me in some important ways.”
“I think divisive identity politics is exactly what’s being practiced by the White House today,” Buttigieg said. “It’s using race to divide us within, for example, the middle and working class. We’ve got to turn the page from that.”
Buttigieg has been married to his husband, Chasten Glezman, since August of 2018. Being gay is an unavoidable aspect of one’s identity, but that is not to say it is the only aspect— and Buttigieg has acknowledged this.
“Being gay is part of who I am, and it’s part of my story and it has shaped me in some important ways,” Buttigieg said. “It’s also just part of my story. It’s not all of who I am.”
The focus of his campaign is not that he is a member of the LGBT+ community. The increase in openly queer candidates that will advocate for the rights of those like them has helped Buttigieg’s campaign gain momentum. The people are seeing more representation as he does not shy away from running for the presidency.
“I think it’s great that he’s decided to run,” junior Brandaly Mora said. “He is showing kids who may have the same dreams as him that they can do it, too. He’s showing them that they can face adversity and do great things.”
“It’s important to see representation in politics since everyone needs to have their voice be heard.”
Buttigieg has stressed the importance of acknowledging climate change and even eliminating oil as an energy source. He has also advocated for restricted access to deadly weapons, pulling U.S. troops out of Afghanistan and the legalization of undocumented immigrants rather than deportation.
As for LGBT+ issues, he openly disagrees with Trump’s transgender ban in the military and supports the passage of the Equality Act, which would give federal non-discrimination protection to members of the LGBT+ community.
A Democratic and openly gay president would be a drastic shift in leadership, as it contrasts so starkly with the current administration. His success would demonstrate that any person of any sexuality can hold office if they meet the qualifications.
“I think it’s important to see representation in politics since everyone needs to have their voice be heard,” junior Amanda Arocha said. “Especially if it’s a law or policy that may pertain to a certain ethnicity, race, gender, etc. It’s important for understanding one another.”
Photo courtesy of Pete Buttigieg