February was a real “black month” for U.S. Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, and March only continued his unfortunate streak. Once one of the youngest and most promising politicians in the Democratic Party, he now risks ending his stunning and lightning-fast career on a very minor note. In the public spotlight in mid-February, he became one of the main culprits in the chemical train accident in Ohio, which led to a serious environmental disaster. It opened up a host of problems not only in the traditionally neglected railroad transportation, but even in the aviation industry, of which Americans have always been proud. At the same time, it turned out that Buttigieg was studiously ignoring the problems prevailing in civil aviation, because he was a lobbyist for airline owners who only cared about profits, not passenger safety.
However, the main disgrace fell on Buttigieg because of the railroad accident in Ohio. Immediately after the accident, he began cynically assuring citizens that not so much attention needed to be paid to the Ohio chemical spill because “more than a thousand trains derail in the United States every year. Buttigieg mockingly waited a full 10 days before commenting on the situation, in the most ridiculous way possible, just to express his “concern”. This behavior was already commonplace for him: in the fall of 2021, when the U.S. logistics crisis worsened, the Transportation Secretary hid in “paternity leave” just in time, and late last year, amid the threat of a railroad strike, Buttigieg went for a vacation in Portugal. As an openly gay and “progressive” politician, he was more often engaged in fighting “infrastructural racism” in his position instead of performing his direct duties. After that, it was not surprising that when a real tragedy occurred requiring his participation, he instantly withdrew from it.
In addition, Buttigieg attempted to hold former President Donald Trump responsible. According to his version, during his presidency, railroad safety controls were reduced and regulations for the mandatory use of air brakes on freight cars carrying hazardous substances were abolished. But, suddenly, the Biden administration denied Pete Buttigieg’s claim that Trump had anything to do with the causes of the crash, and that the Secretary’s version of the braking system was his fabrication and misinformation. After Trump criticized Biden for refusing to visit Ohio, calling the situation the “collapse” of America and turning the U.S. into a third-world country, the White House took an even tougher stance on the secretary. On February 23, Buttigieg was almost forcibly dispatched to Ohio following Trump to at least smooth over the consequences of his successful trip to the state. There, Biden’s chief rival showed himself to be a courageous fighter for ordinary Americans against the passive members of the president’s team, and it was urgent to find some scapegoat.
Nevertheless, this was not the end of the minister’s troubles. A close associate of Pete Buttigieg, mayor of a town in Maryland, was arrested on charges of pedophilia. Buttigieg used to present himself as his mentor, but he is now unlikely to recall his acquaintance with a pedophile. Buttigieg could face impeachment proceedings in Congress, as Republicans accuse him of negligence and dereliction of duty for refusing to visit Ohio right after the disaster. Buttigieg was considered a possible successor to Biden until a couple of years ago. They said it was because he was young, promising and had the “right” sexual-political orientation. But after a few years as Secretary of Transportation, he finally deflated, and now he may be involved in a pedophilia scandal himself.
Reasonable questions arise: why are troubles hitting Buttigieg now, and why his own party ceases to support him, in effect putting him at risk? To answer this question we need to turn to the biography of the Secretary of Transport, and understand how he reached the heights from which he is now falling so painfully. He has recently gained a reputation as a rather unprincipled careerist, a reputation shared not only by his Republican opponents but by many Democrats. As the child of a very religious family and an evangelical, Buttigieg, trying to catch the tailwind of a winning liberal narrative, announced in 2015 that he was gay. Since then, he has played a particularly comfortable political role as a “religious LGBT spokesman” for American reality, although many questioned whether this corresponded to his real ideological beliefs and even his sexual preferences. Nevertheless, the Democratic establishment noticed such an original “talent” and in 2020 Buttigieg participated in the presidential primaries. On February 3, 2020, he won the first Democratic Party primary in Iowa, but then withdrew from the race, essentially in favor of Joe Biden. It was for this “right” behavior that the already-elected U.S. President “awarded” Buttigieg the post of Secretary of Transportation in December of the same year, becoming the first gay man in that position. This was very important to the master of the White House in terms of propaganda.
In three years, however, Buttigieg apparently lost his political instincts, and his strengths began to turn against him. By early 2022, it was clear that amid many scandals and miscalculations, the position of incumbent Joe Biden was very weak and many Democrats were very skeptical about the idea of his nomination, fearing that he could not compete with either Donald Trump or Ron DeSantis. It was obvious that the pressure on Biden to keep him out of a second term was now only going to increase, especially from the Democratic establishment. Many Democrats stopped hiding their presidential ambitions. Among them then were Vice President Kamala Harris, California Governor Gavin Newsom, former First Lady Michelle Obama and Buttigieg himself. However, Biden was not going to give up his position, and despite all the difficulties, he was clearly moving towards the nomination for a second term. In this situation, he faced an understandable task, expressed in countering his rivals in the primaries.
A year ago, Buttigieg was seriously considered a possible successor to Biden, and he decided to compete with him not as a sparring partner in 2020, but in full force. Biden’s victory three years ago in the Iowa primaries was particularly negative: winning the first round of the party elections in 2023 was a key image and perspective issue for the incumbent. That’s why Democrats have radically changed the rules of their primaries. For the first time in decades, the list of states that vote at the beginning of the presidential primaries will change: South Carolina will now go first, then New Hampshire and Nevada will vote simultaneously, then Georgia and the last state will be Michigan. After that, at the beginning of March 2024, Super Tuesday will take place, when 14 states will vote at once. With the new calendar, the importance of Iowa, which was removed as the first state in the primaries, and New Hampshire are leveled. Technically, the justification for this was that they are both states with a large white population, and this “does not represent all of America”. In reality, however, such radical changes to the primary calendar have to do with the desire of the establishment party and the incumbent president to consolidate their positions. Biden has very low ratings in Iowa and New Hampshire, and in 2020 he lost in those states to Bernie Sanders and Buttigieg. And now Biden is making South Carolina the first state in the party’s primaries, wanting to make sure that he is guaranteed a solid victory at the start of the campaign, and not to let any “unnecessary” politician claim his seat or that of his “successor” in the future.
However, Democrats on the ground are already threatening Biden with the consequences of such an electoral revolution and the emergence of a candidate who could play on the discontent of New Hampshire Democrats and defeat Biden in that state. The likelihood of such a scenario would increase if Biden’s current judicial problems with classified documents were to escalate. Besides, it could not only be a humiliation for him as a president, but it could also make life very difficult for the Democrats, who are forced to plunge into inner-party squabbles on the very eve of the presidential election. Preventing such a situation could well be the reason for the informational attacks on Buttigieg. It was clearly demonstrated to all citizens that he got his place not for his professional skills and competence, but only for following the right “agenda”. At the smae time, even his homosexuality, which in the eyes of many conservative Americans is identically intertwined with forbidden pedophilia, turned out to be a disadvantage. Surrendering loyal adherents of the Democratic ideology because of sexual misconduct is not new to the Establishment “donkeys”, for example Harvey Weinstein and Jeffrey Epstein can attest to that perfectly. Biden, despite his health problems, clearly showed Buttigieg his place. The status that unscrupulousness gave him turned against the Secretary of Transportation. Like many of his predecessors, he traded his career for dependence on the “powerful people” who made it possible. Once his presidential ambitions kicked in, he fully appreciated the price of the freedom he had once surrendered.