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How Maltese is Pete Buttigieg and what are his chances of becoming President of the USA?

You’ve probably been hearing quite a lot about Pete Buttigieg locally recently; he first came to our attention earlier this year when he announced his intention to become the Democratic nominee for president of the United States.

Malta was, of course, instantly intrigued as ‘Buttigieg’ is a surname we all recognize. So, here are some things you may or may not know about Pete:

So, who exactly is he?

Pete Buttigieg was born and raised in South Bend, Indiana in the US. In 2012, he became mayor of this town and most people agree that he did a good job at turning things round as mayor- he halved unemployment and secured a lot more investment for a city that was struggling.

He’s been married to his husband Chasten since 2018, which makes him the first openly gay candidate to run for president. At just 37 years old, he’s also the youngest candidate in this race.

How ‘Maltese’ is he?

Pete’s Maltese connection comes from his dad, academic John Buttigieg, who sadly passed away in January 2019. John was originally from Hamrun and achieved his B.A. and master’s at the University of Malta before he went to on to pursue his studies in London and New York.

He became an American citizen through naturalisation in 1979. Pete Buttigieg has frequently referred to his Maltese background, particularly when faced with the seemingly herculean task of pronouncing his name correctly- he helps the Americans out by telling them to pronounce it as “boot edge edge”.

He’s even somewhat able to converse in Maltese- you can check out what happened when he met fellow Maltese-Americans here .

What are his policies?

Pete is a democrat and most of his policies reflect his liberal political ideology.

If he becomes president, he would be stricter on gun ownership, abolish the death penalty everywhere, legalize marijuana, raise the minimum wage and rejoin the Paris Climate Accord and step up efforts to deal with climate change.

What are his chances?

Most people were pretty much ruling him out a few months ago, with long-running and experienced frontrunners Joe Biden, Elizabeth Warren and Bernie Sanders taking the spotlight.

However, there has been a new surge for Buttigieg in the last few weeks and he really could be in with a chance. An Iowa poll conducted last week placed him with a share of 25%- way ahead of the three frontrunners.

Another poll from New Hampshire conducted a few days ago also put Buttigieg firmly at the front. However, analysts have said that if Buttigieg really wanted to improve his chances, he needs to diversify his support, especially since he’s struggling to win over black voters.

When will we know?

Well, Between February and June, nearly every state and US territory will hold a primary election or caucus, and that is when the frontrunners will really start to emerge. The nominee will then be revealed in mid-July.

Do you think we will see a Maltese-American become president?