The Audacity of Pete Buttigieg

That the project of electing Buttigieg president has become a plausible one, much less in some quarters a cause, is the most surprising political development of 2019. It’s surprising, of course, because Buttigieg is the not-yet-40-year-old mayor of the fourth-largest city in the country’s 17th-largest state—a man who started the race as a virtual unknown.

In the weeks after his New Hampshire visit, as Buttigieg shifted into a more moderate lane and rode a strong debate performance, his potential path to the nomination began to seem increasingly viable, to the point that some in the Democratic establishment were turning away from Joe Biden and toward Buttigieg as the candidate they hoped could defeat their twin bêtes noires—Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren. By mid-November, a Des Moines Register poll found him in first place in Iowa—16 points ahead of where he was just two months ago.

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