The presidential campaign of Pete Buttigieg, who wants to be the Democrats’ answer to US President Donald Trump in the 2020 election, is a standout story in the baffling world of American politics.
Buttigieg is just 37, and before he took a swing at the Democratic primary race, he was best known as mayor of South Bend, Indiana (population: 102,000). Now he’s in the conversation to lead the party’s ticket in 2020, with the latest polls showing gains against frontrunner and former Vice President Joe Biden.
Then there’s the fact that, if elected, Buttigieg would be the first openly gay politician chosen by a major party to contest a presidential election. In a nation with such a strong conservative presence, Buttigieg leading the Dems against Trump would be an incredible milestone.
But for our purposes, the most interesting, fascinating, gut-punchingly bizarre aspect of Buttigieg’s campaign is the dance. Oh Christ, the dance.
While candidates like Senator Bernie Sanders have built legions of die-hard supporters over decades, Buttigieg’s budding base has encouraged volunteers to dance before official events. The idea, it would seem, is to inject a little energy into Buttigieg’s rallies to echo the adulation at Sanders’ events. In practice, though? Well, if you can imagine Aerobics Oz Style doing a special episode with Panic! At The Disco, you’re 80% of the way there.
Punters have targeted the dance as a point of weakness in Buttigieg’s campaign, using it as a springboard to criticise his policy positions: namely, his refusal to back an Australian-style national healthcare system for the US and his handling of racial issues in South Bend.
The year: 2031. Four guys own 86% of global wealth and the Amazon is the size of Central Park. I go to a pharmacy on the Ohio coast to get an inhaler for my child. "Show us your proof of insurance," says the pharmacist. Tears well up as I begin to do the Pete Buttigieg dance— Grammar Nazi Stalin (@ubadbromommy) November 18, 2019
doing the Buttigieg dance whenever my health insurance decides to cover a claim— Ken Klippenstein (@kenklippenstein) November 19, 2019
The Pete Buttigieg campaign “dance” is in reality daemon-summoning ritual that, once performed by a large enough crowd, will open a gateway for the armies of Astaroth. And this is not even the worst thing about him!— Matt Bors (@MattBors) November 17, 2019
you don't need black votes when you have high hopes, baby! https://t.co/GaGhBJoOB3— Ashwin Rodrigues (@shwinyo) November 19, 2019
Moreover, people just think the dance is a bit crap.
First day working for the Buttigieg campaign. Every six minutes an alarm goes off & you have to stand & do the High Hopes dance. My pulse has stabilized at 150 bpm— Nick Wiger (@nickwiger) November 18, 2019
Ah fuck it's gonna be Pete isn't it and he's gonna bring out Brendon Urie at the inauguration to sing "Lying Is the Most Fun a Girl Can Have Without Taking Her Clothes Off" at the Lincoln Memorial and I'm gonna be like ah fuck that song still whips 🙁— Luke O'Neil (@lukeoneil47) November 19, 2019
I just watched the Buttigieg dance video and now I'm moving to the town in Footloose where all dancing is banned— Vivian Ho (@VivianHo) November 18, 2019
Sorry can’t hang tonight. The boys and I have Buttigieg dance practice— Jeff (@JeffKardesch) November 19, 2019
Even worse: the TikTok teens have logged on.
Again, this is hardly the most pressing political issue to spring from his campaign (the nationalised healthcare system would really help a lot of Americans!) but Jesus, haven’t you ever heard of closing the goddamned door?