The Weirdness of Mayor Pete

Bastiaan Slabbers/NurPhoto via ZUMA

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Mayor Pete continues to climb in (some of) the polls:

Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, who was initially seen as a long-shot presidential contender, has surged within striking distance of former vice president Joe Biden and Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses, a Suffolk University/USA TODAY Poll finds….The poll, taken Wednesday through Friday, put Biden at 18%, Warren at 17% and Buttigieg at 13% among 500 likely Democratic caucusgoers.

There is something weird about Mayor Pete. I mean, the guy is a small-town mayor who compiled an OK record thanks to a long economic expansion. He’s 37 years old and looks it. His political positions are entirely conventional. And yet he’s remained steadily viable in the polls, even creeping up a bit over the past few months. What’s more, he’s raising a ton of money. Who is it that believes in this guy so much that they’re funding his campaign to the tune of $50 million so far?

Buttigieg is not a flavor-of-the-month candidate who enjoys a brief surge in the polls and then crashes. We see a few of those every election cycle. Rather, he’s been plodding along, waiting for his chance, while people shovel enormous sums of money his way.

I don’t get it. I have nothing against him, but it makes no sense that someone with his background could remain a serious contender for so long, even if he does talk a good schtick. It makes even less sense that he could attract so much money. Can someone please enlighten me about what’s going on here?

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We didn't know what to expect when we told you we needed to raise $400,000 before our fiscal year closed on June 30, and we're thrilled to report that our incredible community of readers contributed some $415,000 to help us keep charging as hard as we can during this crazy year.

You just sent an incredible message: that quality journalism doesn't have to answer to advertisers, billionaires, or hedge funds; that newsrooms can eke out an existence thanks primarily to the generosity of its readers. That's so powerful. Especially during what's been called a "media extinction event" when those looking to make a profit from the news pull back, the Mother Jones community steps in.

The months and years ahead won't be easy. Far from it. But there's no one we'd rather face the big challenges with than you, our committed and passionate readers, and our team of fearless reporters who show up every day.

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