Joe Biden has chosen Pete Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend (Indiana) with whom he faced in the Democratic primary, as his next Secretary of Transportation .
It was expected that Biden would save somewhere in his Cabinet for this 38-year-old, for two reasons: He is a future value of the Democratic party and Biden owed him a great favor.
Buttigieg starred in a brilliant breakthrough in the Democratic party and came to dispute the center of the party to Biden, the great favorite of the primaries.
Buttigieg was a design candidate, he seemed to have come out of a focus group of political consultants from the Democratic establishment: young, gay, Christian, Harvard-trained, war veteran – a short stint in Afghanistan, Midwest and moderate. .
His only experience was being mayor of a city of 100,000, but it didn’t matter. He covered its gaps with presence, enthusiasm and an optimistic, “Obamian” message of union, harmony and progress. “Major Pete” or “Mayor Pete” became one of the campaign icons.
Buttigieg would not have had a chance to run in a primaries with better candidates. But in the face of many left-leaning rivals, he became the centrist alternative to Biden. The now president-elect, despite being the favorite, was reeling in the debates and his campaign was adrift.
Against the odds, Buttigieg prevailed in the inaugural primaries , the Iowa caucuses. In the next round, in New Hampshire, he was second, behind only leftist leader Bernie Sanders. His Achilles heel was the black electorate, with whom he never connected. And when the primaries came to a state with a large black minority, South Carolina, it collapsed, while Biden was resurrected.
Buttigieg was able to continue in the fight and seek a miracle on Super Tuesday, three days after the South Carolina primary, the date in which the most states are played.
But the young politician made his calculations and opted for a strategic decision: to step aside to secure a future in the Democratic establishment. He canceled his campaign and joined Biden’s. The next day, another moderate candidate, but with fewer options,, Amy Klobuchar, did the same. The ‘establishment’ was milling around Biden.
Buttigieg quickly became a mainstay of the Democratic campaign. He received congratulations by phone from Barack Obama for his generosity. Now the reward has been collected.
Buttigieg had another factor going for him: his appointment to any Cabinet position would make him the first openly gay person in the highest rank of the US Government. Biden has promised a Cabinet “that looks like America” and that. includes diversity of sexual orientation.
Buttigieg made his an electoral card and now it has also been decisive in reaching the Government.
It rang for several portfolios, as ambassador to the UN or secretary of Commerce. In the end, he will be left with Transport, a department with 55,000 employees , in which he will be in charge of a dozen agencies, with responsibility for airspace, national highways or pipeline security.
Your experience for this will be limited. In South Bend, it only managed a fleet of sixty buses on the public transportation service. Other contenders for the position, such as David Kim or Sarah Feinberg, accumulated years of experience in the transport sector and in the public department of the sector. But Biden didn’t owe them one.
“I promise you, throughout your life you will end up seeing a lot more of Pete than me,” Biden said at the first joint rally. Now, his appointment has once again disappointed the leftist currents, who consider that they do not have sufficient representation in the Cabinet.
Buttigieg is not left with a flashy position, but with the visibility and presence he needs to continue his political ambitions, without needing to win a congressional election – for example, senator from Indiana, a difficult seat for being a very state. Republican- to stay in the spotlight. There is no doubt that Buttigieg will run for president again , in 2024 or later.