What was supposed to be a fifty-person “meet and greet” with presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg in Des Moines last night, turned into an outdoor rally with approximately 1,600 Iowans showing up in support of or to learn more about this magnetic politician.
Along with these folks were a couple of anti-gay and anti-abortion activists who evidently had been dutifully following him on his circuit. Although they interrupted his speech a few times, they were not manhandled or dragged away by police. Instead the crowd drowned out their words with loud and emphatic chants of “Pete! Pete! Pete!”
One heckler was Randall Terry, founder of Operation Rescue, who shouted “remember Sodom and Gomorrah,” at the candidate.
After the chanting ceased, Buttigieg addressed us, “The good news is the condition of my soul is in the hands of God, the Iowa Caucuses are in yours.” Cheers erupted.
Buttigieg, it appeared, had everyone at “Hello.” Even children waved Pete 2020 signs enthusiastically! He introduced his husband, Chasten, as well as his mother who is healthy and doing well after heart surgery. They were both welcomed with loud and long applause.
Those who showed up on the warm April evening to see Pete were a range of ages. Those older folks I spoke with said they wanted a younger president and could care less about him being a married gay man. They were, however, worried about other supporters not voting for him because of this reason. Which becomes a huge Catch 22 for Pete’s campaign. I responded that nearly 70% of Americans support same sex marriage. That’s more than we need!
Because I am not certain where that number came from, I researched recent polls. Recent being a year.
A Gallup Poll conducted in May of 2018 found that 67% of Americans supported same-sex marriage, 31% opposed, and 2% had no opinion. That is over two in three who support same-sex marriage. Broken down, demographics follow as one would expect. In other words, those who oppose wouldn’t be voting for a democrat president regardless.
According to these polls, 67% gets you to the Oval Office.
Because it is on the minds of those I have spoken with – will others support his same-sex marriage? – I feel the number one hurdle for Pete will not be from those who oppose his right to wed Chasten, but from those who are in absolute support, yet are afraid they are in the minority. That he can’t win. That he can’t get Trump out of office. That they must vote for one who can: an old white guy.
Let’s make sure we let those who are worried that they need not be. That they are in the majority. That Mayor Pete’s marital status won’t hold him back.
Nor will his age. Trust me on that one.
Candidate Pete Buttigieg is being compared to Obama and his run for presidency. Last night, with all those people chanting and cheering and clapping – it sure felt like Audacity and Hope were back. And that a “new era” isn’t a far reach for us.