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Pete Buttigieg: Could He Challenge Joe Biden in 2024?

Pete Buttigieg. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Pete Buttigieg

New Hampshire Democrats have revealed their top choice for the party’s 2024 presidential nomination – and it’s not incumbent President Joe Biden. Instead, New Hampshire Dems chose Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg as their top choice for the presidential nominee.

The poll demonstrates both the shaky ground Biden walks on – despite a slew of legislative victories and midterm overperformance – and the enduring popularity of Pete Buttigieg – despite having never really accomplished anything.

The poll, conducted by the University of New Hampshire Survey Center, asked likely Democratic primary voters who they wanted the next presidential nominee to be. Buttigieg led the field, earning 23 percent of the total votes. In second place, Biden tied with Massachusetts Senator Elizabeth Warren – each collecting 18 percent of the votes. Independent Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders came in fourth with 15 percent of the votes.

The poll also asked voters whether Biden should run for office again. Two thirds of the field answered that they do not want Biden running for reelection. More than one quarter of the voters answered that Biden should “definitely not” run for reelection in 2024.

Pete Buttigieg well positioned for a future presidential run

My personal disdain for Pete Buttigieg is well-documented. I have written in the past to criticize Buttigieg for, well, a lot of things.

At the heart of my various Buttigieg criticism is my belief that Buttigieg is inauthentic. Buttigieg is a mainstream Democrat, a David Axelrod-find, who markets himself as a progressive. Buttigieg talks about his military days as if he stormed the beaches of Normandy (he was an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserves). Buttigieg is what Beto O’Rourke called a “human weathervane.”

And now Buttigieg is the Transportation Secretary. How that happened I’m not sure. During Buttigieg’s swearing-in ceremony he talked about how he proposed to his now-husband at O’Hare Airport – as if that makes Buttigieg qualified to run the nation’s transportation infrastructure. Before becoming Transportation Secretary, Buttigieg ran unsuccessfully for DNC chair, ran unsuccessfully for president, and served a stint as the Mayor of South Bend, Indiana (population: 103,353).

As Transportation Secretary, Buttigieg got a political boost from the Infrastructure Investment and Jobs Act, which will inject $65 billion into US infrastructure, including transportation infrastructure. But Buttigieg’s stock took a hit last month during the Southwest Airlines cancellation fiasco. Buttigieg had been pressured, earlier in the year, to impose disincentivizing fines against airlines for cancelling flights. Buttigieg demurred, Southwest took advantage of Buttigieg’s penalty-free cancellation policy, and proceeded to strand millions of travelers during peak holiday travel.

The voters of New Hampshire don’t seem to mind, however. And perhaps neither do the voters of the other 49 states. Buttigieg is well poised to pivot into a presidential run, now, or whenever he pleases. Buttigieg is only 41 years old, so he’s probably going to be politically relevant until the 2050s or so. Now might be a good time for Buttigieg to run again for president; the Democratic bench is weak.

As the New Hampshire poll indicates, Buttigieg will stack up well against other Democratic prospects – a thin field including Harris, Warren, Sanders, Klobuchar, Booker, Michelle Obama, Hillary Clinton, etc. etc. No one is poised to run away with the post-Biden Democratic Party. You can expect Buttigieg to take an aggressive stab at another presidential nomination.

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Harrison Kass is the Senior Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, Harrison joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison holds a BA from Lake Forest College, a JD from the University of Oregon, and an MA from New York University. Harrison lives in Oregon and listens to Dokken.

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Harrison Kass is a Senior Defense Editor at 19FortyFive. An attorney, pilot, guitarist, and minor pro hockey player, he joined the US Air Force as a Pilot Trainee but was medically discharged. Harrison has degrees from Lake Forest College, the University of Oregon School of Law, and New York University’s Graduate School of Arts & Sciences. He lives in Oregon and regularly listens to Dokken.