Readers React: No one would care about ‘Mayor Pete’ if he were just a policy wonk

South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg formally announces his presidential candidacy in South Bend on April 17.
(Joshua Lott / AFP/Getty Images)

To the editor: Columnist Doyle McManus says Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg needs to stress policy. He does, and that will come.

But have you ever been approached by a salesperson who immediately starts selling you a product without first establishing a connection? Of course you have (think telemarketers), and you ignore them.

Buttigieg is doing absolutely the right thing — he’s establishing a connection. Donald Trump already had one from years of publicity and a TV show. Would we pay any attention to the mayor of South Bend, Ind., if the first thing he did was tell us how he’s going to change the world?

Buttigieg is selling himself right now, and so far we like what we see. There will be time for policy, and now that we connect with “Mayor Pete,” we will listen.


John Goodman, Oak Park


To the editor: McManus, in his criticism of Buttigieg’s failure so far to clearly spell out his policy proposals, claims that Hillary Clinton was defeated in 2016 because her many proposals “got in the way of a broader message.”

Wrong. I saw hundreds of hours of breathless coverage of an email server and gallons of printer ink spilled over Benghazi. The news media chased right-wing talking points throughout the 2016 election and gave us Donald Trump as if he were a serious person.


The failure of the news media to live up to their enshrined position in the 1st Amendment degrades our democracy every day.

Norman Rodewald, Moorpark


To the editor: If Buttigieg or anyone else wants some substantive, attention-grabbing policies, the following may be suitable.

On taxes, I suggest eliminating those on personal income and replacing them with a nationwide carbon tax (starting at $50 per ton, include imports, and increase it by 10% annually) and a nationwide consumption tax. We should also repeal the 2018 tax cut bill.

Regarding the economic revitalization of distressed areas, I suggest providing incentives for retirees to move to these areas, doling out federal grants for the creation of community colleges, and giving incentives for small business creation or relocation.

As for things to avoid, I suggest that the candidates steer clear of undoing the electoral college or packing the U.S. Supreme Court. These are not motivating issues for young progressives, and older moderates will perceive supporting them as pandering.

Ed Salisbury, Santa Monica


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