In case y’all didn’t notice, the Buttigiegs recently relocated to the Great Lakes State. And while the family may love cherries and lake life, and while they may enjoy being closer to Chasten’s parents, I suspect their move to Traverse City, MI, is actually a shrewd political move for an ambitious young Democrat who saw himself going no where fast in Indiana.
Also, in case y’all didn’t notice, 47 House Republicans voted to write same-sex marriage into law this week. Not even 20 years ago, the boogieman of gay marriage was being used by Republicans as a motivation to turn out voters to re-elect GWB and even ban it in liberal California. Sen. Rob Portman is a co-sponsor of the bill, and says there’s a possibility of getting 10 Pubs to vote for it in the Senate. Now, I’ll believe it when I see it, but the fact that it passed with some House GOP leadership support, as well as support from a Freedom Caucus member, tells me it’s not entirely dead in the water.
So all that being said, I’m now seeing a real pathway to the Oval emerge for the young Buttigieg. He’s no longer living in a political dead-end of a state, and being a gay man may not be the deal breaker it once was for voters nationally. I love Pete Buttigieg, so this makes me happy.
Now here’s where I lay down some fun speculation about what happens next for Pete. (I drive around a lot for work and pass the time with idle political speculation running through my head. If looking into a political crystal ball doesn’t interest you, feel free to skip the next few paragraphs.)
I’m getting more and more confident that Gretchen Whitmer will win re-election in November (it’s a total clown show the state GOP has put together to challenge her), and I’m seeing the Dems and media talk her up more and more as a rising star in the party.
Her rising national buzz will catapult her onto Biden’s cabinet sometime after the midterms. If she wins re-election, this promotion would move her lieutenant governor (Garlin Gilchrist (D)) up to the governor’s mansion, and open up a vacancy in the lt. governorship. According to state law “the senate, by resolution, with a record roll call vote, shall appoint an acting lieutenant governor of the same political party as the governor who shall serve for the remainder of the term.” (Michigan’s state senate is controlled by Republicans, fyi, so that would be an interesting situation).
I don’t know if the new governor would be able to nominate someone, and the state senate would just approve it or what, but I could see this being an opportunity for Secretary of Transportation Pete to become Lt. Governor Pete. Heck, maybe his is the cabinet resignation that Whitmer fills. This would also give the new Gov. Gilchrist a chance to run for election in 2026 as an incumbent. Incumbents rarely seem to lose governor races in Michigan, however we do seem to flip-flop between Republican and Democratic governors every eight years. This would potentially give Dems a leg-up in 2026 that they otherwise wouldn’t have.
This would also establish Pete as a State of Michigan politico, without having to get his hands too dirty with an actual campaign. Now, Michigan’s senior senator, Debbie Stabenow, will be 74 when she’s up for re-election in 2024. It’s possible, although not a given, she may retire instead of running for another 6-years in Washington. In my theory, she retires, making way for the future.
Serving a couple years in Lansing as Lt. Governor would take some of the carpet-bagging stink off of Pete before embarking upon a run for Senator in 2024. The Senate would be a great place to launch his next presidential campaign.
If none of the above happens as I’ve theorized, I could still see him running for (and winning) governor of Michigan in the next 4-8 years. Next stop after that? Another run for the presidency, all before he’s in his mid-50s.
He’ll elected president no later than 2032.