Mizzou for Pete works to appeal to Democrat, Republican voters

After a strong performance from Mayor Pete Buttigieg in the Iowa caucus, Mizzou for Pete looks to build off momentum in later primaries

Mizzou for Pete is collaborating with other campus organizations across the country and using virtual phone and text banks to organize for Pete Buttigieg in Columbia. MU junior Julia Gilman is the student lead for Mizzou for Pete, as well as MU’s campus coordinator for Pete for America.

Buttigieg, who announced his campaign in April 2019, is the former mayor of South Bend, Indiana as well as an Afghanistan veteran. Buttigieg is currently the first openly gay candidate to run for a major party’s nomination and if elected would be the first openly gay president of the U.S. He is also the youngest candidate in the field at age 38.

“He is a pragmatic progressive which means that he has the same end goal as the rest of the progressives in the party but he has reasonable steps to get there,” Gilman said.

One of Buttigieg’s policies that Gilman is particularly fond of is a policy to expand access to mental health care in K-12 schools. Growing up Gilman said her school missed a learning disability in her, something she attributes to the lack of adequate mental health care in schools.

“If we had everybody screened, this wouldn’t have happened,” she said.

Gilman also likes the way that Buttigieg lays out his policies in a manner that is easy to understand for all voters.

“I feel like a lot of policy in the government is just this legal jargon that nobody gets,” Gilman said. “Pete explains it in a way that’s just so personable and easy to understand.”

Gilman said Buttigieg’s pragmatic approach appeals to a lot of moderates as well as Republicans who don’t want to vote for Trump in 2020. She said while she was in Iowa volunteering over winter break, a number of lifelong Republicans came into the office looking to change their party affiliation to vote for Pete in the caucus.

In the Iowa caucus on Feb. 3, Buttigieg led with around 27% of Iowa’s state delegates, followed closely by Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT, as of this writing. Nationally, Buttigieg is currently polling around a 7% average, putting him in fourth place behind former Vice President Joe Biden, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, D-Mass., according to FiveThirtyEight.

Although Gilman has no previous campaign experience, she said being in a group chat with campus coordinators across the country has eased that transition. She said the older students have served as mentors for her throughout the process.

Gilman recognized that Buttigieg is not currently polling well among people of color, which she stated will make it harder for him to get elected. Buttigieg is currently polling around 2% with African American voters in South Carolina, another early primary state.

“He doesn’t have a lot of the people of color vote which is really hard to get elected without that, so I think it’s just going to come down to turnout,” Gilman said.

Students who are interested in joining Mizzou for Pete can follow @mizzou_4_pete on Twitter.

Edited by Ben Scott | bscott@themaneater.com

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