The latest addition to the already crowded field of Democrat candidates for president is South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
In an announcement speech on Sunday, Buttigieg made clear that his youth — he is 37 years old — will be a detail at the center of his campaign.
“I recognize the audacity of doing this as a Midwestern millennial mayor,” Buttigieg told a crowd in a former Studebaker auto plant. “More than a little bold, at age 37, to seek the highest office in the land.”
An Afghanistan War veteran and Rhodes scholar, the mayor said his candidacy is about more than just the 2020 election.
“The forces of change in our country today are tectonic,” he said. “Forces that help to explain what made this current presidency even possible. That’s why, this time, it’s not just about winning an election — it’s about winning an era.”
Buttigieg — who has already been dubbed “Mayor Pete” by the Associated Press and some of his supporters — has raised over $1 million since announcing his run for president. While that number is significant, what’s more significant is the amount of support the mayor is already receiving from outspoken Hollywood liberals.
“Family Guy” creator and voice actor Seth MacFarlane — who campaigned for Bernie Sanders during the 2016 presidential election — tweeted an article covering Buttigieg’s infant campaign and wrote, “This guy is one to watch.”
Comedian Chelsea Handler — who claims Trump being elected president motivated her to enter therapy — said on Sunday’s edition of MSNBC’s “Kasie DC” that she hopes Buttigieg being elected president is a direct result of Donald Trump’s time in office.
“If Donald Trump was the result of electing a black man and the result of Barack Obama, then we need to go back around and get somebody like Pete Buttigieg,” said Handler. “I saw his speech earlier today. That’s inspirational. That’s aspirational. It’s everything that should be the answer to a man like Donald Trump.”
Handler can also be counted among the donors to Buttigieg’s campaign, as can “This Is Us” actress Mandy Moore, “West Wing” actor Bradley Whitford, and “Deadpool” leading man Ryan Reynolds.
While it’s easy to dismiss the endorsements of celebrities in the wake of Trump being elected over Hillary Clinton — a candidate who spent more time rubbing shoulders with stars like Beyonce and Jay Z than actually visiting working folks in Middle America — Buttigieg’s early success shows he’s the new Obama for Hollywood donors.
Rewind back to the 2008 presidential election and Barack Obama was a relatively unknown senator at the time of the announcement that he was running. He had very little experience and his campaign was based on celebrity, youthful energy, and vague promises of drastic change in America.
The difference between then and now is, of course, President Donald Trump. Buttigieg has youth, celebrity support, and the same sort of vague notions of left-wing change on his side, but he’ll be going up against a president who doesn’t need Hollywood donations or endorsements to win.
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