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In N.H., Pete Buttigieg Questions the Electoral College and Future for Millennials

Robert Garrova
Pete Buttigieg at Politics and Eggs

Peter Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, made another stop in New Hampshire Friday as he contemplates a 2020 presidential campaign.


He told the crowd at St. Anselm College’s Politics and Eggs that issues like climate change are personal for him as a millennial. At 37, he's possibly the youngest candidate in a crowded field of Democrats. 


"And so, too, is the economic question of whether we are on track to be the first generation in American history to earn less than our parents if nothing is done to change the trajectory of this economy,” Buttigieg said.


College freshman Mallory Warner drove up from Massachusetts and says Buttigieg's message of a better future for younger Americans resonates.


"There's this sense of disillusionment among us in that what we say and what we do doesn't matter,” Warner said. “And I think now, when you see a 37-year-old in office, it means something."


As chair of a task force of mayors looking at the impact of automation and artificial intelligence, Buttigieg said the future of work and education are also on his mind.


“The way that he talks about jobs and the way he talks about autonomization,” said college student Noah Shamus, “it’s going to be an issue that affects our generation and so it really speaks to me.”


The Democratic Party, Buttigieg said, has work to do in reconnecting with people in the middle of the country where he says certain manufacturing jobs aren’t coming back.


“To me, a presidency like the one we’re living in is a symptom not a cause,” he said. “Someone like this doesn’t even get to within cheating distance unless countless people feel that the system has let them down.”


Buttigieg also said he supports the idea of a popular vote system when it comes to presidential elections.


"I live in the state of Indiana. It doesn't matter, most years, what we think, because our state is too conservative to matter in the electoral college,” Buttigieg said. “And if you live in California, it doesn't really matter what you think, because your state is too liberal to matter in the electoral college."


In his lifetime, the electoral college had “overruled the American people” twice, he said.


Buttigieg didn't say for sure whether he'd run for president in 2020 but offered, “everything that I’ve seen points us in the same direction, the message is resonating.”

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