Chasten Buttigieg, best known for being married to a failed presidential candidate, was recently announced as a fall fellow at the Harvard Kennedy School Institute of Politics.
Chasten rose to national prominence during the 2020 Democratic primary by campaigning with his husband Pete, who acquired a dedicated following among older white liberals with graduate degrees—particularly in "boat shoe" strongholds such as Nantucket, Martha’s Vineyard, and Cape Cod.
Chasten, who was the subject of numerous glowing profiles in national media outlets during the primary, recently published a memoir, I Have Something to Tell You. The book received a lukewarm review in the Washington Post, a popular newspaper among older white liberals with graduate degrees.
"Everyone loves Chasten Buttigieg, who was briefly in contention to become the nation’s first first gentleman," writes Post columnist Steven Petrow. "His Twitter feed, with more than 447,000 followers, helped him become Pete Buttigieg’s 'not-so-secret public-relations weapon,' as he was described in a profile for this newspaper."
Unfortunately, Petrow notes, the memoir failed to adequately address Pete Buttigieg's embarrassing lack of support among minority voters, not to mention his troubled record on race relations while serving as mayor of South Bend, the fourth-largest city in Indiana. Some analysts argued that Buttigieg ran the "whitest campaign since Mitt Romney" in 2012.
"As out of touch as Pete may have appeared about the issue [of race] during the campaign, Chasten’s omission now, after the killing of George Floyd in police custody and months of racial protests in the streets, comes off as particularly tone-deaf, if not worse," Petrow writes.
Pete Buttigieg is currently writing his second memoir in as many years. Trust: America's Best Chance is due out in October. He is all but assured a prominent cabinet position in a Joe Biden administration. Chasten, for his part, might decide to pursue a career in politics as well. He'd be following in the footsteps of prominent spouses such as Hillary Clinton and Sean Eldridge.
The Harvard Institute of Politics's website describes Chasten as "a middle school drama and humanities teacher" who "lives in South Bend, Indiana, with his husband, Peter, and their two rescue dogs."