Tuesday, April 16, 2019 1:00 am
New chapter in state's presidential lore
That Indiana so often plays an outsized role in national politics is a source of perpetual amazement. In 1988, Dan Quayle became George H.W. Bush's surprise choice for vice president. In 2008, Indiana became an unlikely battleground between Hillary Clinton and Barack Obama.
In 2016, Mike Pence was looking at a potentially tough gubernatorial reelection when he suddenly emerged as Donald Trump's running mate. Now Vice President Pence is trading sound bites in the national media with South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg's emergence in the early Democratic presidential sweepstakes has stunned those political observers who hadn't already given up trying to guess what will happen next week, let alone in two years.
Any doubt that Buttigieg's candidacy is generating enthusiasm was dispelled by the thousands who braved one of the most abysmal days of a chilly northern Indiana spring to attend his official announcement in South Bend Sunday.
The onstage moment when Mayor Pete embraced and kissed his husband, Chasten Buttigieg, will no doubt be remembered. That an openly gay presidential candidate could attract such a wide following offers hope for those in Indiana and elsewhere struggling against intolerance.
The repurposed Studebaker building that Buttigieg chose for his announcement conveyed a hopeful message as well.
Fort Wayne's economic history and efforts to revitalize have much in common with South Bend's. And, no small number of Fort Wayne residents made the trip for the announcement.
“I'm so inspired by his platform, his campaign, and his passion for intergenerational justice,” wrote Brandon Blumenherst, a Purdue University Fort Wayne student and president of Fort Wayne College Democrats, after attending the rally.