“Pete Buttigieg vaulted into the top four of a crowded Democratic presidential field because he has an agile intellect, is fiercely articulate and both espouses and embodies a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave.
He also got there because he’s gay.
He’d be the first to acknowledge that. In fact he did acknowledge it when we spoke last June about the state of L.G.B.T.Q. rights in America. Referring to his sexual orientation and his marriage to another man, he told me, “It’s safe to say that it led to there being more interest and attention early on.” He stood out among the dozens of Democratic aspirants, each desperate to do precisely that.
But there’s a big difference between winning over enough Americans to land in his current position — he placed second, behind Elizabeth Warren, in one survey of Iowa voters last week — and having an appeal broad enough to nab the party’s nomination, let alone the White House. Is being gay an insurmountable obstacle on the path to those prizes?
Anyone who answers with an unequivocal yes or no is just guessing.
The question is now being asked more urgently than before, as the primary contests draw closer and many Democrats simultaneously assess the risks of the two front-runners, Warren and Joe Biden, and survey the field anew, wondering if anyone in the tier of candidates just below them might be a better opponent for Donald Trump. Their gazes invariably fall on Buttigieg, but their apprehensions include whether America could really elect a gay president.”
David Lindsay: Thank you Frank Bruni.
Here are the top comments, all of which I recommended:
I don’t know whether being gay is a plus or minus for Pete Buttigieg. It’s a plus for me, a gay man, but well down the list of reasons I will vote for him, including having an agile intellect, being fiercely articulate and espousing and embodying a fresh perspective that many voters of all stripes crave (thanks, Frank.) I’d also add reasons like not pandering, not bellowing and not being 70+ (I am 62.) So I’m voting for Pete Buttigieg in California’s primary and I hope he wins. Even if he doesn’t, I’m still voting for whomever the Democrats nominate to defeat the traitor currently in The White House. I hope everyone else will also vote blue, no matter who, because we are teetering on a precipice.
If Ireland, a staunchly Catholic and, for decades, a very socially conservative country, could vote for a young gay prime minister, then maybe the US too could vote for a young gay President. Irish voters looked to someone who had great political gifts, intellect, personality and experience. Perhaps Ametican voters will respond to some of these same qualities in Buttigieg.
When I lived in California I worked with and became friends with many gay individuals, and came to realize that a huge percentage of them combined the best of both sexes. Male nurses with physical strength and the tenderness to work with fragile individuals. Female IT experts with the drive and ambition usually associated with males, but who worked cooperatively rather that coveting accolades. And parents who loved their kids no matter what. Buttigieg is special. Intensely intelligent, nonjudgmental, practical, and just plain decent. His personality or may not be influenced by his sexuality, but it’s beyond hypocritical for philandering, sexist, or racist individuals to make it an issue. Our country needs competence and fairness more than a first lady.
Notwithstanding Mayor Pete’s obvious intellectual abilities and communication skills, it is a wonder that people find mayor him to be too inexperienced or too young to be president. Compared to the current occupant of the White House, who had no experience in anything other than grift and a host of other illicit activities, Mayor Pete would be a breath of fresh air.