Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of Indiana's fourth-largest city (South Bend) and a strong contender in the 2020 Democratic primary, does not believe he would be the first gay president in American history, if elected.
"We have had excellent presidents who have been young. We have had excellent presidents who have been liberal," Buttigieg said in response to a question from Axios reporter Mike Allen about the personal characteristics Republicans would be most likely to attack. "I would imagine we've probably had excellent presidents who were gay—we just didn't know which ones."
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Buttigieg did not speculate as to which U.S. presidents might have qualified for this distinction, but suggested it was "statistically…almost certain" that the United States has already had a gay commander in chief. As several users of the popular social networking website Twitter were quick to point out, this is not how statistics work.
That's not how statistics work. https://t.co/eOravEQnkR
— Jay Cost (@JayCostTWS) June 17, 2019
According to Gallup, 4.5 percent of the U.S. population identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender. Buttigieg might be suggesting that approximately two (4.5 percent) of the 44 individuals to serve as president were "almost certainly" gay because of statistics. That's wrong. It only works if the absurdly small sample size of U.S. presidents is reflective of the overall population, which it clearly isn't, because America is not a collegiate men's lacrosse team. Women and non-white men make up a majority of the population, not 1/44th (2.27 percent).
Given Buttigieg's limited grasp of statistics, he might ultimately regret winning the Democratic nomination, which would force him to share a debate stage with Donald Trump, an intellectual heavyweight.