Polyglotte, vétéran et gay : Peter Buttigieg, la star montante des démocrates américains

18 Avril, 2019, 05:22 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Pete Buttigieg à l'université de Chicago dans l'Illinois le 13 février 2019Plus

Dès 2016 il avait pris les devants, proposant à ceux qui voudraient contourner la difficulté d'utiliser le surnom de "Mayor Pete". Et pourtant, le maire et natif de South Bend (Indiana) est partout dans les médias américains.

"On vend un mythe aux communautés rurales et industrielles", selon lequel "on pourrait arrêter le temps et revenir en arrière", a-t-il clamé devant une foule en liesse, en référence au slogan de Donald Trump martelé depuis des années: "Rendre sa grandeur à l'Amérique". Toujours en milieu de peloton dans les sondages nationaux, il a surgi à la troisième place dans l'Iowa et le New Hampshire, les premiers États à voter dans un an pour départager plus de vingt candidats.

Et sur son compte Twitter personnel, le candidat fraîchement déclaré n'a pas manqué d'indiquer la transcription phonétique de son patronyme: c'est l'option "BOOT-edge-edge" qu'il a retenue.

Dimanche, après quelques charges contre Donald Trump et les républicains, il a cherché à élever le débat et à proposer un message d'espoir et d'optimisme, en se présentant comme rassembleur.

Il a ensuite rappelé les valeurs auxquelles il était attaché: l'égalité raciale et des sexes, le droit à l'éducation et à la santé, une politique migratoire raisonnée, la protection des salariés et la lutte contre le changement climatique. "Mayor Pete", comme il est surnommé, avait lancé un comité exploratoire il y a trois mois, dont le succès a débouché sur cette candidature qui enthousiasme des milliers de démocrates -mais probablement moins ses 17 adversaires.

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La fascination est en partie liée à ce que signifierait son entrée à la Maison-Blanche. S'il est élu, il serait évidemment le président le plus jeune de l'histoire américaine (39 ans, le jour de l'investiture en 2021) et le premier maire à être élu sans autre mandat. Avec l'officialisation de sa candidature, il est devenu le premier candidat à la présidentielle marié à une personne du même sexe -avec Chasten Buttigieg, qu'il a épousé l'an dernier.

Charismatique, il n'hésite pas non plus à croiser le fer avec le vice-président Mike Pence, sur les questions de foi et d'homosexualité. Il avait ajouté: "Je peux vous dire que si le fait que je sois homosexuel était un choix, c'est un choix qui a été fait haut, très haut".

"Et c'est ce que voudrais que les Mike Pence du monde comprennent: si vous avez un problème avec qui je suis, votre problème n'est pas avec moi. Votre problème, monsieur, est avec mon créateur", avait-il expliqué.

"Son charme, pour beaucoup de gens à South Bend, tient à sa capacité à aller de l'avant et se focaliser sur les jours meilleurs à venir", estime Elizabeth Bennion, professeure de Sciences politiques à l'Indiana University.

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