Nothing said as much about the campaign of Pete Buttigieg for president than how he announced he was ending — or “suspending” — it. It was graceful, dignified, proud but humble, funny but poignant, and most of all, a clear sign that we have not heard the last of him or his classy way of running for national office and being an important presence on the political stage.
A lot of the pundits and commentariat are making note of the fact that he’s the first openly gay presidential candidate to actually run and win delegates to the convention. But he said nothing about those particular adjectives, and his campaign was never focused on that aspect. Rather, he spoke about giving hope to those who were made to feel less than a full citizen or not given their due in the political arena. That applies beyond the LGBTQ+ community, and it spoke more about his drive to make his campaign and thereby the race for the office to be about bringing in everyone. In that way, and in what he was ultimately hoping to represent, he reminded me of the campaign of Bobby Kennedy in 1968, and it has the glimmer of hope that while he didn’t make it this time, there’s the possibility and the popular support that this kind of candidate and candidacy will succeed.
I also have the strong feeling that he’s not leaving the arena quite yet. Vice president, Secretary of State, Secretary of Defense, or some major role in the next Democratic administration. The final nominee of the Democrats would be an idiot not to consider him for a position, laying the groundwork for his return the next time around.