Politics

Good Riddance, Mayor Pete

Former South Bend mayor Pete Buttigieg, in what is undoubtedly the most laudable achievement of his political career, ended his superfluous presidential campaign on Sunday. Good riddance, and congratulations… to Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D., Minn.) for barely outlasting her nemesis, the entitled twerp who reminded her so much of all the staffers she's terrorized over the years.

Buttigieg's exit was sudden, like the first kid in class to raise his hand after the teacher asks for volunteers. His endorsement of former vice president Joe Biden embodied everything the Pete campaign stood for (Pete Buttigieg's personal ambition), as well as everything it stood against (older candidates with more Washington experience than Pete Buttigieg).

The 38-year-old Harvard grad, Rhodes Scholar, and McKinsey consultant will angle for a Biden cabinet position to put on his resume before running for office again. That run is inevitable. It just won't be in Indiana, where he ran for state treasurer at age 28 and lost to a generic Republican by 25 points. Northern Virginia, here he comes.

Buttigieg exceeded expectations simply by receiving votes in a Democratic primary. The same cannot be said for several candidates the professional pundit class once anointed as frontrunners—Beto O'Rourke and Sen. Kamala Harris (D., Calif.), for example.

Buttigieg's rivals, including Biden, could hardly contain their disdain for the guy. Who, after all, did he think he was? Before anyone knew his name, Buttigieg was being hailed in the New York Times as "the first gay president" and running (unsuccessfully) for chairman of the Democratic National Committee.

In fairness to his opponents, everything about Buttigieg's persona was extremely annoying: his inexperience, his sociopathic levels of ambition, his consultant-grade talking points, his "white Obama" affectation, his refusal to shut up about the time he studied abroad in Afghanistan, his campaign theme song.

Buttigieg's success in early primary states was driven by his ability to appeal to several powerful, if overlapping, constituencies within the Democratic Party: boat-shoe dads, Montessori moms, Panic! at the Disco dilettantes, West Wing enthusiasts, nursing-home DJs, hippies with 401ks, millionaires who self-identify as "middle class," liberals too "woke" to support a straight man but too sexist to support a woman, journalists, white people.

Unfortunately, Buttigieg's efforts to cast himself as the candidate who could "bring people together" fell flat in South Carolina, where he won just 2 percent of the black vote. The decision to drop out now, at the direction of party elders, is being praised as "selfless," which is only true when compared with former New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg's insane vow to keep running until "the bitter end."

It's also an act of self-preservation by a candidate who didn't want to be embarrassed any further in the diverse slate of states holding primaries on March 3, aka Super Tuesday.

Pete Buttigieg won't be missed, but he'll be back in our lives soon enough. He can finally leave Indiana without looking like a total carpetbagger and will soon be able to afford a top-notch team of consultants and pollsters to rebrand his image in whatever state he tries to run in next. On the bright side, at least we already know how to pronounce his name.