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To say the internet has a lot of thoughts about Pete Buttigieg’s presidential run would be a massive understatement

Josh Milton March 2, 2020
Pete Buttigieg with his husband Chasten in South Bend, Indiana, where he announced he was dropping out of the presidential race

Pete Buttigieg in South Bend, Indiana, where he announced he was dropping out of the presidential race. (Scott Olson/Getty)

Having made history as the first openly gay US presidential candidate, Pete Buttigieg departing from the race has not only sent seismic shocks along the narrowing field, it’s also got quite a few people talking.

With his turn-the-page message and iron-pressed shirts, the little-known mayor of a small Indiana town catapulted into the spotlight.

The 38-year-old sparred with US president Donald Trumnp, homophobic religious leaders and right-wing figureheads over the validity of his credentials and the impact of his sexuality, but it is one sealed into history class textbooks nevertheless.

A number of Twitter users came together to pay tribute to the South Bend mayor with the hashtag “#ThankYouPete“. After a crushing loss in the South Carolina caucus, Buttigieg announced Sunday his decision to step down.

‘The barriers Pete Buttigieg broke cannot be understated.’

Selfies on the campaign tour, Buttigieg and husband Chasten on TIME magazine as well as images of them embracing on national stages; countless users reflected on what the Buttigieg campaign meant to them.

Throughout his campaign, Buttigieg’s military service served as a ballast. Much like his spirituality, while not at the forefront of his branding, the former Navy intelligence officer has leveraged it to outflank rivals during debates and earn his stripes among veteran voters.

Even actor Sharon Stone commented with the hashtag.

Current contenders make bids to court former Pete Buttigieg’s voters. 

Each of the now remaining Democratic candidates, all vying to inherit the Buttigieg’s predominantly liberal voting bloc, also commented on Buttigieg’s departure.

Only Hawaii congressperson Tulsi Gabbard has yet to comment on Buttigieg’s fallout.

Moreover, many former candidates who retired their bids also jumped to Twitter to share their thoughts.

Author and former runner Marianne Williamson, who recently endorsed Sanders, commented on the “rocky week” ahead of Super Tuesday.

And both Republicans battling to become president reflected on Buttigieg. One of these tweets is not like the others, one of these tweets just doesn’t belong.

With Buttigieg out, political pundits suggest that with the pool of moderate candidates shrinking – billionaire Tom Steyer dropped out of the race last week – this could form a sturdier, more consolidated opposition to the left-leaning Sanders bloc.

Moderates once clogged the field and cannibalised on the same share of voters, they say.

With two less now in the running, campaigners of reaming contenders are fighting to sway former Buttigieg supporters.

While even those who never intended to tick Buttigieg’s name on their ballot expressed their views on how much watching a gay man run to become president meant to them.

Why did Pete Buttigieg end his presidential bid?

Facing better known and better-financed opponents, Buttigieg jumped into a cluttered field of candidates looking to unseat Trump in April 2019. He leapt from obscurity into one of the early forerunners of the race, as two dozen candidates trimmed to six in February.

Yet, even his surge in the Iowa caucuses did little to keep him buoyant, as support for Vermont senator Sanders drowned out he and Steyer’s campaigns

Moreover, even with the Iowa uptick, Buttigieg’s polling position plateaued in the low 10 per cents. Imperilling his Super Tuesday standing where 14 states vote.

Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg hugs his husband Chasten after announcing he was ending his campaign to be the Democratic nominee for president. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)
Former South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg hugs his husband Chasten after announcing he was ending his campaign to be the Democratic nominee for president. (Scott Olson/Getty Images)

His bid was dealt a blow, political analysts say, by his dwindling support from black voters. Buttiegeg’s assent was haunted by his struggle to court black voters, with a number of rallies and polls mired by his mayoral past.

The demotion of a black police chief and the shooting last summer of a black resident by a white officer; the two controversies clouded his campaign. Troubling his attempts to court black voters in South Carolina, he attempted to counter poor impressions by campaigning with black community leaders from his hometown.

Ultimately, the deep trust black South Carolina citizens felt for Biden resulted in the sweeping support for the former vice president.

Unable to sway black voters and jostling with fellow moderate contenders, he embraced his husband one final time in South Bend to applause as he formally announced the end of his historic campaign.

More: 2020 democratic nomination, Donald Trump, Elizabeth Warren, joe biden, Michael Bloomberg, Pete Buttigieg, South Carolina

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