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Sorry, GOP: Pete Buttigieg Isn’t Going Away

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa. Image Credit: Creative Commons.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the 2019 Iowa Democratic Wing Ding at Surf Ballroom in Clear Lake, Iowa.

What If Pete Buttigieg Mounts Makes a Comeback and Runs for President Again? – Transportation Secretary Pete Buttigieg has endured a rough tenure in federal office.

Buttigieg had little government experience for the job, serving only as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana and running for president.

He has attempted to lead through difficult periods as secretary. At the end of 2022, thousands of flights were cancelled and he appeared flatfooted with a late reaction.

Same for the train derailment in East Palestine, Ohio in which Republicans called for his resignation for being aloof and ineffective during the disaster.

Pete Buttigieg: Don’t Count Him Out

But Buttigieg is young, 41, and full of potential. He is, at times, an excellent public speaker.

He was a powerful fund raiser when he ran for president. The mishaps have given him name recognition.

He could still mount a political comeback and run for the White House again in 2028 should President Joe Biden fail to be re-elected.

Buttigieg says he has no plans to run in the current election cycle for president in 2024, but that gives him four additional years to prepare for 2028. He is becoming more recognizable in the public eye, and he defends Biden at every turn.

There Is Still Some Campaign Apparatus in Business

It is little known, even by the most in-tune beltway political insiders, that Buttigieg still has a political action committee associated with him. One can donate to the PAC called “Win the Era.” The web site is still up, and it is even being staffed by former campaign workers from the 2020 race. Buttigieg would be able to use this as a springboard for a potential White House quest.

One thing Buttigieg will have to improve is his relationship with an important voting bloc in the Democrat party – minorities. Buttigieg did well in Iowa and New Hampshire, states that are majority white, but underperformed in South Carolina with African-Americans. Part of that problem was his relative inexperience and little name recognitions with black voters.

He could use his PAC to donate to campaigns for minority candidates to help them run. Pete Buttigieg would be better known in 2028 should that be the date where he starts a presidential campaign again. He may want to make sure he remains on Kamala Harris’ good side and try to make a political alliance with her, despite Harris’ own presidential ambitions.

His Ambition Is in Print

Buttigieg is quite the author. He has not one but two books: The Shortest Way Home and Trust: America’s Best Chance. These were printed in 2019 and 2020 respectively, so he will probably write a new one to herald in his presidential campaign should he run again. 

He is also a salesman having experience marketing Biden’s infrastructure improvement law. He often makes public appearances and attempts humor to make him more relatable with cringy puns such as “this is literally as concrete as it gets.” But give him a break, corny humor is prevalent in the Midwest and Buttigieg is from Indiana after all.

Some Overseas Experience

In foreign policy, Buttigieg can point to his record as a reserve naval officer working in intelligence who deployed to Afghanistan in 2014. Biden and former President Donald Trump have no military experience. He also went to university overseas in Britain where he picked up a BA from Oxford.

Buttigieg hopes that in the coming years he can overcome doubts about his rocky service as transportation secretary. Republicans have requested he resign during and after the train derailment episode. House GOP lawmakers promise an investigation into the debacle.

He can sometimes look bewildered in public, and his youth and inexperience shows. But by 2028, he likely believes few Democrat presidential primary voters will remember details of his past troubles as secretary.

On balance, Buttigieg is a Democrat of the future. He can fundraise, he has a sunny personality, and the smarts for higher office. He shouldn’t be underestimated.

Pete Buttigieg has one presidential campaign under his belt so he is used to the ebbs and flows of a run for the White House. He has a base of support and a PAC that can raise money for him and donate to minority candidates who would go to bat for him in another presidential run. Buttigieg is thus one to keep an eye on and the microscope will be on him throughout Biden’s tenure in the White House.

Whether you call him Mayor Pete, Secretary Pete, or inexperienced and in over his head, Buttigieg is not going away.

Author Expertise and Experience

Serving as 19FortyFive’s Defense and National Security Editor, Dr. Brent M. Eastwood is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer. You can follow him on Twitter @BMEastwood. He holds a Ph.D. in Political Science and Foreign Policy/ International Relations.

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Now serving as 1945s New Defense and National Security Editor, Brent M. Eastwood, PhD, is the author of Humans, Machines, and Data: Future Trends in Warfare. He is an Emerging Threats expert and former U.S. Army Infantry officer.