If you’re planning on voting in the 2020 Democratic presidential primary elections, you might already feel like your decision is hard enough — but the field is still growing. On Wednesday, Indiana mayor and openly gay Afghanistan veteran Pete Buttigieg announced that he formed a 2020 exploratory committee to run for president in a video posted to Twitter.
"I launched a presidential exploratory committee because it is a season for boldness and it is time to focus on the future," Buttigieg wrote on Twitter, along with his announcement video. "Are you ready to walk away from the politics of the past?"
One of the main aspects that Buttigieg will emphasize in his candidacy is his youth, as he told The Atlantic. He’s 37 years old, which provides a sharp contrast to other Democrats in the race — for example Sen. Elizabeth Warren, one of the presumed frontrunners, is 69. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard is also 37, though.
“If you’re my age or younger, you were in high school when the school shootings became widespread, you’re going to be dealing with climate change for most of your adult life in specific, noticeable ways,” Buttigieg told The Atlantic‘s Edward-Isaac Dovere. “You’re going to be dealing with the consequences of what they’ve done to the debt, you’re on track to be the first generation ever to make less than your parents, unless something changes."
These experiences and others, Buttigieg told Dovere, "[give] you a very different relationship to political decision-makers and decision-making."
As the current mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Buttigieg already has some experience as a chief executive. According to NBC News, he’s relied on his success in working to improve life in South Bend as he’s started to build up his presidential candidacy — but the jump from mayor to president remains unlikely. At 29, he became the youngest person ever elected mayor of a city with more than 100,000 residents, NBC reports. If he were chosen as the Democratic Party’s candidate for president, however, he would break another barrier by becoming the first openly gay presidential candidate of a major party, according to The Washington Post.
When Buttigieg entered politics, his resume already included his time spent as a Rhodes Scholar and as a Navy lieutenant who served in Afghanistan, according to The Atlantic. He publicly came out as gay while running for his second term as mayor of South Bend, when he wrote a column in the city’s newspaper sharing the information with his constituents. While this aspect of his identity will undoubtedly play a role in his candidacy, his announcement has devoted much more focus to his youth — the so-called generational aspect of his candidacy.
"I belong to a generation that is stepping forward right now," he said in his announcement video. "We can’t just polish off a system so broken. It is a season for boldness and a focus on the future."
Buttigieg certainly has his work cut out for him. Besides Warren and Gabbard, the Democratic field already includes Sen. Kamala Harris, Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand, former Obama cabinet member Julian Castro, and others.
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