How Pete Buttigieg Won This Iowa Caucus-Goer Over

Photo by Julie Fleming

Guest op-ed from Dennis Cole of Shenandoah, Iowa, past Page County Democrats chair.

As Iowans, we have a very important responsibility in our democracy.

The first-in-the-nation caucuses bestow upon us a great opportunity to lead America in the political and moral direction of our choosing, by allowing us to winnow the field of presidential candidates every four years. Iowans take this responsibility very seriously and put forth great effort to make the best decision. Winners come out of Iowa with momentum for the next set of primaries, and more often than not, eventually secure the nomination of their party. 

Consequently, I deliberated long and hard on my caucus decision. After hours of research and debate viewing, I had eliminated several candidates, but still had a list of three or four possibilities.

In September, my family and I made the two-and-a-half hour drive to the Polk County Steak Fry in Des Moines. Seventeen presidential candidates were scheduled to attend, and I promised myself I was going to commit to a candidate by Oct. 1, so this event would play a large part in my decision. 

The weather was dreary that day, misting off and on, but 12,000 hearty Iowans overcame the conditions for what proved to be an afternoon of plans, policies and political spectacle. Several candidates came and went, including some on my short list, but nothing happened to move me one way or another.

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Then, Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of the small Midwestern city of South Bend, Indiana, came to the stage. So did several hundred of his yellow-clad, enthusiastic supporters. I had seen this entourage, the largest of any candidate, earlier in the day, and I noticed how remarkably organized they were. I had seen a display like this only once before, at the Harkin Steak Fry of 2007, led by an upstart senator named Barack Obama.

As Mayor Buttigieg spoke, something else happened that I had not experienced in quite some time. A tingle began running down my spine. I was feeling hopeful. I was inspired. This was my candidate. This was my president.

America is more divided now than it has been in any other point in my lifetime. Pete Buttigieg is the candidate this country can unite behind, while bringing civility back to the White House. He wants to work with all Americans to solve the problems this country has and repair the relationships with our allies throughout the world.

Buttigieg is an Afghanistan war veteran, one of only two veterans in this large field of candidates. He served as a lieutenant in the U. S. Navy Reserves, and has more combat experience than any president since George H. W. Bush. For his counter-terrorism work, he earned the Joint Service Commendation Medal.

Pete Buttigieg will not recklessly deploy our sons and daughters in wars we should not be fighting. However, he will not hesitate to use force when there is no other recourse. Mayor Pete will not betray our allies by abandoning them and leaving them with the choice of fleeing their homes or being slaughtered as this President has done.

I believe climate change is the greatest threat to humanity we have ever faced. As the youngest candidate in the race, Pete Buttigieg has more incentive to deal with climate change than any other candidate.

In western Iowa, we’ve seen how 500-year floods are happening less than a decade apart. California’s annual wildfires are costing billions of dollars of damage per year, and millions of people may be displaced in my children’s lifetimes due to sea level rise. Pete’s detailed climate plans prioritize building a clean energy economy, reducing greenhouse gas emissions to net zero by 2050, investing in technologies to trap carbon emissions, and once again joining the rest of the world to fight this impending crisis.

A centerpiece of Buttigieg’s policies is the health care plan known as “Medicare for All Who Want It.” It allows people to buy into Medicare if they choose, which is the next logical step beyond the Affordable Care Act. If you don’t want to buy into Medicare, you may keep your private insurance plan, allowing the American people to choose what is best for their own families.

Personally, I’m happy with the coverage of my employer-sponsored insurance. I wouldn’t want to suddenly be forced off it onto a government program without first seeing how sustainable and cost-effective this program is. After having time to evaluate the plan, I may elect to buy into Medicare.

I believe, as Buttigieg does, that Medicare will be the better option, and it will win out over private insurance. We will make that transition in a gradual, free-market way with “Medicare for All Who Want It.” This is a progressive policy, but it’s a pragmatic progressive policy.

One of the first things to interest me about Mayor Buttigieg was his faith. The right doesn’t have a monopoly on faith, and Democrats should not be afraid to discuss their beliefs.

Pete Buttigieg is arguably the most faithful presidential candidate we have seen for some time. Christ loves all of us, and Mayor Pete’s Episcopalian faith is a driving principle in his personal life. I’m ready for a candidate that proves the religious left does in fact exist, and our faith is just as strong.

Mayor Buttigieg was a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, and a graduate of Harvard University. He has more government experience than the current president of the United States. He has more executive experience than the current vice president. And, perhaps most remarkably, he was re-elected as mayor with 80% of the vote in Indiana. 

More than anything on that day in September, I was struck by how genuine Pete Buttigieg was. An honest, faithful, and thoughtful president that wants to bring this divided country together beginning on day one is exactly what we need at this point in history.

Buttigieg has the intelligence, experience, personality, and commitment we need to heal the wounds in American society. As he stated in his dominating performance at the Liberty and Justice Celebration last weekend, Buttigieg is “here to launch the era that must come next.”

On Feb. 3, when the eyes of the world look to Iowa, let’s make a statement on what we want that era to look like by caucusing for Pete Buttigieg.

To volunteer for Pete with me in Southwest Iowa, contact Alex Flood at, (502) 802-5302.


By Dennis Cole
Posted 11/6/19

18 Comments on "How Pete Buttigieg Won This Iowa Caucus-Goer Over"

  • I was sold on Pete Buttigieg the first time I heard him speak. I said “I have just listened to the next President if the United States.” He is extraordinary!

  • What a very well written piece. I shared it on my Facebook page. I hope everyone reads it. Pete has been my choice for quite a while now because of the reasons you gave here. He is hope for the future!

  • Pete for President! Pete needs to meet with African American leaders and get their endorsements. I am sure Pete can win them over if given the opportunity.

  • I agree with what you printed I too was hooked on him the first time I heard him
    If I close my eyes I would hear JFK and Obama together great for the country and truth and promises that they kept
    As far as I’m concerned he is my president
    He is more then qualified for this job
    No questions about it
    Pete 2020

  • Pete is working on meeting with as many African American leaders and voters as he can. Truly! I got to introduce him at a faith forum in SC last month. Judaism, Christianity and Islam represented. We had people of color on the panel. It was a super-positive experience!

  • How would a homosexual president be able to deal with the 70 or so nations of the world where gays are treated as criminals? This includes countries that we deal with on important issues such as military matters.How do you think these leaders would view dealing with a homosexual when homosexuality is a crime in their country?

  • I am 87 years old and a mother and grandmother. What I hear from Mayor Pete is THE TRUTH. Since the current occupant of the White House doesn’t have the vaguest idea about the meaning of TRUTH and defies it at every opportunity, Pete looks and sounds like salvation for our country. He doesn’t have gold as his goal. He is intelligent enough to ask questions and listen to answers from those who are older and more experienced. He is kind. He earns respect every time he opens his mouth, because he does not diss anyone – even donald trump, the GREAT PREVARICATOR. In that way, Pete is more like the Americans I know: NOT FAKES like donald trump.

  • I mostly like what Pete says, but as Dennis says:
    “If you don’t want to buy into Medicare, you may keep your private insurance plan, allowing the American people to choose what is best for their own families.

    Personally, I’m happy with the coverage of my employer-sponsored insurance.”

    That’s the problem with the “all who want it” part. Health insurance MUST be divorced from employer-sponsored policies. When I was employed, I was happy with mine, too – but when I was laid off or when I changed jobs, I lost that insurance. When laid off I had no alrenative except “catastrophic” policies (basically the junk insurance mentioned by several candidates and the same type of policiesz that Republicans are trying to add back into the ACA), or COBRA. And there was no way I could afford COBRA. That is part of the problem with employer-sponsored plans. The employer picks up the majority of the cost of the policy. That MUST stop. And I don’t see that addressed in Pete’s otherwise very good and well-thought out ideas. Otherwise, it’s more of the same. I want to like him; I really do. But this is too large a sticking point. And even as a retired person, it would affect me.

  • I don’t know how a homosexual president would deal with anti-gay countries, but having seen Mayor Pete several times, I believe I have a good idea how he would do it — with exceptional intelligence and patriotism, with determination and strength, and by putting our country first.

  • Pete is the most well rounded, balanced candidate in my opinion. He has a vision for our future but can still connect with older generations because he has empathy and understanding and knowledge on EVERY core debatable subject. Plus he speaks in complete sentences making comprehension for me much easier.

  • Until relatively recently divorce was illegal in numerous countries, and women are still unable to apply for divorce is many of them. Stoning is still on the books in 16 countries and is generally meted out to women who commit adultery. No one has ever taken that into consideration when examining the qualifications of a divorced female presidential candidate–and rightly so.

  • Just to comment on “our broken country”….. By saying there is a divide, you are CREATING the divide! It takes both parties of the government to function correctly! What America needs is to work together and be open minded to change! You will get absolutely no where in life if you do not see things from the other parties perspective! Yes, there are problems that need to be addressed! Problems more important than this so called “climate change” or “global warming”. Problems more important than “equality” and “LGBT rights”. What America needs is to address the problems most important to least important! First, let’s work on the laws where killing a bird is illegal but killing a human that can sustain life is legal. Let’s address that we have millions of immigrants with free health care and veterans who fought your YOUR freedom living on the street!

  • Robert Delk, Pete answered your exact question in Decorah. He said “I’m not concerned how they would deal with me; they would be dealing with the President of the United States. But more important is how they would deal with the their own citizens. We can’t change other countries overnight. But as we continue to engage with them and press for freedom, citizens in those countries will have the hope that comes with seeing a world leader who is like them.”

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