Candidate calls for end of the Electoral College

Indiana mayor also favors a Supreme Court expansion

Telegraph photo by KATHY CLEVELAND New Hampshire Democratic Party Chairman Ray Buckley, left, stands alongside South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg as he speaks to an event attendee during a Politics & Eggs breakfast at Saint Anselm College on Friday.

MANCHESTER – The Washington Post called Pete Buttigieg, the two-term Democratic mayor of South Bend, Indiana, “the most interesting mayor you’ve never heard of.”

Friday, he told a crowd in Manchester why he should be elected president in 2020. Buttigieg is 37 and a U.S. Navy veteran. If elected, he would be both the youngest and first openly gay president.

Speaking at Saint Anselm College, Buttigieg said he wants to end the Electoral College and expand the U.S. Supreme Court.

Because the Electoral College is established by the Constitution, only a constitutional amendment can eliminate it. This would would require a two-thirds vote in both the U.S. House and the Senate, as well as ratification by 38 (three-fourths) of the 50 states.

However, expanding the Supreme Court from its current number of nine justices to 11, 13, 15, or more could happen with a president, House and filibuster-proof majority in the Senate agreeing to do so.

Aside from this, Buttigieg said a millennial mayor from the Midwest would realize, more than most, that the system is no longer working for many people, especially for those in the heart of the nation.

And city mayors are at the level of government that deals with the most urgent and immediate needs of people, he said.

“A mayor would never shut down government over a political dispute,” he said to an audience that included Manchester Mayor Joyce Craig. “It’s unthinkable. We deliver water.”

Effective mayors have to be pragmatic and have to look toward the future, Buttigieg said. American leaders are slow to react, “not just to the chaos in the White House, but to the accelerating pace of change that is going to call for solutions bolder and completely different anything we doing last 30 or 40 years,” he said.

He pointed to the transformation of South Bend, which had once been No. 8 on a Newsweek list of dying American cities. Now it is adding jobs and population.

“Our city is back, and its success is an answer to the message coming out of the White House, he said, that the only way to speak to Midwestern or rural communities “is through resentment and nostalgia, telling us to look for greatness in all the wrong places.”

During the 1960s, closure of the Studebaker plant brought the city to its knees, he said, and 50 years later people were still wondering if it could come back.

As a 29-year-old mayor in 2011, “I had to tell them, that’s never going to happen” and there was no way to turn back the clock. The way to success is to follow the nation’s founders, who “kept their eyes firmly on the future.”

And for a millennial president, Buttigieg said, “climate change is a personal, not a theoretical issue, and it’s also the first American generation that will be less well-off than their parents.

Freedom, democracy and security are the words for a pro-Democrat bumper sticker, he said.

Democrats have allowed Republicans to define freedom as “freedom from government,” he said, but real freedom comes from having health care and reproductive rights and the freedom to marry that “has transformed my life.”

“There’s more to security than building a wall from sea to shining sea,” he said, and security has to include climate security, because it’s a real problem.

“My fellow mayors in Florida are dealing with sea-level rise today,” Buttigieg said.

Buttigieg’s speech was only about 15 minutes in length, allowing time for plenty of questions – about education, Social Security, drone warfare, art policy, and the opioid crisis.

The latest presidential hopeful to speak at a “Politics & Eggs” breakfast at the New Hampshire Institute of Politics at Saint Anselm College, Buttigieg received the support of only 1 percent of Democrats in a recent University of New Hampshire poll. That’s compared to 26 percent for U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., 22 percent for former Vice President Joe Biden, and 10 percent for U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif.

Buttigieg, however, won re-election in 2015 with 80 percent of the vote in an area where, he said, “people literally don’t hear Democrats.”