As the 2020 election cycle continues to develop, it was only a matter of time before things turned ugly.
To be fair, a great many American elections turn ugly; a forgone conclusion in the era of polarizing infotainment trying to pass itself off as “news”. Now, thanks to this radicalization, civility has become a scarcity on Capitol Hill.
To further compound the issue, we are staring down a particularly loathsome contest in 2020 with at least 18 democrats all bickering with one another in order to stand out. Those who do find themselves in the rare air of temporary political celebrity have a choice to make, however. Do they continue to lambast their opponents within the democratic party, or do they turn their sights on the current administration in order to give the impression that they’ve already eclipsed the need to battle over the primaries?
Pete Buttigieg is taking the latter approach, adjusting his rhetoric toward Vice President Mike Pence to be increasingly hostile.
On the campaign trail, Democratic presidential contender Pete Buttigieg blasts Vice President Mike Pence’s cultural and religious conservatism. But as the mayor of Indiana’s fourth largest city, his tone toward the state’s Republican former governor was more muted.
During the four years in which they overlapped in Indiana politics, Buttigieg, the South Bend mayor, had a cordial relationship with Pence. The two collaborated on economic development issues . Buttigieg presented Pence with a South Bend promotional T-shirt that said “I (heart) SB.”And at ceremonial events, Pence would lavish Buttigieg with praise.
My, how things have changed.
At a recent LGBT event, Buttigieg spoke of the importance of his marriage to his husband, Chasten, and framed his sexuality in religious terms.
“If me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said. “And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand: that if you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
He has previously called Pence’s religious conservatism a “fanatical” ideology.
By Buttigieg’s own admission in his campaign memoir, his relationship with Pence is “complicated.” In an interview with CNBC that aired on Thursday, Pence said they had a “great working relationship” and criticized the mayor’s characterization of his religious beliefs.
Buttigieg is a rising star in the crowded 2020 field, meaning that this feud may be far from over.
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