Pete Buttigieg, the 2020 Democratic contender once considered an outsider, is attracting interest and praise from, of all people, some conservative stalwarts, Politico is reporting. Specifically, some right-leaning pundits are impressed by the South Bend, Indiana, mayor’s willingness to work with both sides of the aisle, as well as his “refreshing” approach to policy.
There’s a lot about “Mayor Pete” that may not score points with conservatives. He’s openly gay, for example, and he supports both single-payer health care and abolishing the Electoral College. He called Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s much-maligned “Green New Deal” a “sound framework” for tackling climate change.
But unlike many of his colleagues in the ever-expanding field of 2020 Democratic candidates, Pete brings something to the table that conservatives admire: tolerance of conservatives.
In these divisive times, says conservative pundit Ben Shapiro, it’s refreshing to have someone who doesn’t treat the other side as patently evil, something that both sides are known to do.
“There is a big sense that he, unlike a lot of the Democrats, is actually not ensconced in the belief system that says everyone who disagrees with him is a bad person.”
So impressed is Shapiro with Buttigieg that he invited Pete to appear on his radio show; as of this writing, Buttigieg has not responded.
Pete Buttigieg: How a young, gay mayor became a Democratic star https://t.co/igl6iEP659
— BBC News (World) (@BBCWorld) April 9, 2019
Similarly, former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich is impressed by the up-and-comer, praising him for his supposed “libertarian” ideals in a March op-ed in Commentary magazine.
“The infringements upon liberty against which Buttegieg railed are those meted out by the heavy hand of the state.”
Even conservative talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who has been the unofficial voice of conservativism for decades, sees something that he likes in Buttigieg, calling him “personable” and predicting that he would easily destroy his opponents in the primaries.
That’s not to say that Buttigieg is likely to sway any of the votes of those three men, especially that of Shapiro, who has vowed that he will “absolutely” vote for Donald Trump. But the fact that Pete is getting even the faintest of faint praise from stalwart conservatives is a testament to his likeability, and the lack of likeability almost certainly played a role, however minor, in Hillary Clinton’s 2016 loss to Donald Trump.
It bears note that, as of this writing, Pete Buttigieg hasn’t even officially entered the race, although Slate notes that he’s expected to make an official announcement this weekend. Meanwhile, polling indicates that he would still lose to either Bernie Sanders or Joe Biden, who also hasn’t officially entered the race.