“Your guy is on MSNBC,” my 94-year-old Dad wrote to me in a text message last week.
“Thanks, Dad,” I responded. “Already watching him.”
Just to be clear, Dad is not the only person who calls Pete Buttigieg “your guy” when communicating to me about Pete. In fact, right before the last debate, my best friend turned to me and said, “Joyce, I like your guy the best of all.” And while having lunch with a group of women recently, one turned to another and said, “Joyce’s guy is so good. I saw him on Fox News and he got a standing ‘O.’”
A couple of thoughts. First, they are all correct. Pete most certainly is “my guy” for President. So there’s that. Second, IamThisClose to shouting “Damn! He needs to be your guy too!!!” at the top of my lungs whenever “your guy” is uttered in reference to Pete. And third, why the heck is he almost always “your guy” instead of “Pete”, “Mayor Pete” or even “MY guy?”
Hmmm. Maybe it’s his surname. I know it can be tough to pronounce…or maybe even remember. I know when I first heard Pete on CNN’s Town Hall last spring, my jaw dropped, locked and did not return to position until several minutes after “Mayor Pete” exited the stage. Afterwards, I only knew his last name started with a “B”, and was “complicated.” But I did remember “Pete”. Boy, did I remember Pete. That’s an easy enough name. So I have to think it’s probably not his name that prompts so many people to refer to Pete as “your guy”.
Have I been annoying people by posting and writing so much about Pete, and referring to him (more than once, I admit) as the most gifted candidate ever to seek the nation’s highest office? (As in since 1776.) Many say I am prone to hyperbole, but I prefer to say that I am effusive about the truth. In so doing, have I made Pete so much “my guy” that others just naturally default to calling him “your guy?” Perhaps. But let’s dig a bit more.
What we find on the deep dive might be this: Democratic voters are Trump-weary — debilitated by his destructive policies and actions that have cannibalized this nation’s soul. Millions fear losing our democracy and the righteous values that once defined our greatness. They are desperate for 45 to be gone.
Who among the Democratic candidates then, can prevail in 2020 to make that happen — assuming 45 is not impeached before the election? As recent polling suggests, the top four Democratic candidates are all capable of winning the presidency over 45; and one of them is Pete.
Here’s what I think might be happening. At this juncture (which I think we can safely call “still somewhat early in the race”), many Blue voters are still surveilling those in the wide — but now narrowing — Democratic field. Minds have not yet been made up. Why? Because many are simply too frightened to commit to any candidate. For many, the past few years with 45 at the helm have been traumatizing, and they are experiencing the effects of a brand new form of PTSD — President Trump Stress Disorder. (It’s a real thing. I know. I have it — badly.)
And there’s this: Among the top four candidates, Pete is definitely the new guy in town. Not known on the national stage prior to entering the race last spring, Pete has had to build his brand from the ground up, and in rally after rally, give voters reasons to believe — and trust — that he could be their guy. Would they commit themselves to giving a Pete a shot? Here was a young, brilliant, accomplished, unbelievably articulate, ex-military, religious, gay married man who had never worked in Washington, but who went home instead to serve his beloved South Bend as its mayor. He is definitely a “something different” candidate. So was 45 — though the similarities between the two stop right there. Voters tried something different in 2016, and we see now just how well that turned out. Would they (could they?) chance it again?
In my opinion, they must. Pete is that once-in-a-lifetime candidate whose time is NOW. No other candidate offers a skill set like his in these desperate times. Vastly knowledgeable. Humble. Reasoned. Pragmatic. Compassionate. Unifying. Calm. Ethical. Congenial. Understanding. Welcoming. Steady.
In order for a Pete to become “your guy” too, read and watch all you can about Pete. Only then will you really know for certain if you will call him “my guy.” Here’s a quote from Pete that will get you started on your way. It’s one of my favorites:
“We need to come together as one…and I believe that is the purpose of the president. That is what the presidency is for. The function of the presidency is not the glorification of the president. It is the unification of the people around dealing with the biggest challenges that we face.”
That’s my guy. #RollUpYourSleeves