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Please Do Not Mock The Beautiful Mayor Pete Dance

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is soaring to new heights on the wings of dance. Let him have it.


“When you dance, your purpose is not to get to a certain place on the floor. It’s to enjoy each step along the way.” –Dr. Wayne Dyer

South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is soaring to new heights on the wings of dance. His campaign has created a routine so arresting, so artful, so searing, it’s no wonder the mayor is pulling ahead in Iowa.

The “High Hopes” dance, which dozens of people appear to have learned, is a simple one. Along with a tolerance for bands that use punctuation in their names, it requires only some modest bending and clapping and waving, accessible to both key fanny pack demographics: overzealous millennial campaign staffers and excitable Baby Boomers.

It is very hip. It is very young. It is not to be mocked, because, above all, it is very earnest. It is a humble expression of grassroots optimism, and it is beautiful.

It is the kind of routine camp counselors use to prove they are cool, because like Mayor Pete they are, and no sweaty seventh grader or right-wing blogger can take that away from them. Mayor Pete knows Gwyneth Paltrow. When Tom Ford offered to style him, Mayor Pete said no. Mayor Pete plays many instruments. Mayor Pete knows all about the failures of neoliberalism.

Unlike his party’s three frontrunners, Mayor Pete is not in his seventies. He is youthful, bursting with the energy of an erstwhile McKinsey consultant eager to unleash his wonkish plans on society, plans drafted lovingly over a case of IPA and some Phish. (Mayor Pete is becoming “less snobby” about hops as he ages, “realizing there’s nothing wrong with an accessible, easy-to-enjoy blonde or lager.”)

It figures, then, that this is his dance. Like all good art, it honors the nuances of its inspiration. It is the dance of the perennial hand raiser, of the tasteful sweater collector, of everyone just a little too cool for pocket protectors.

I suppose, if you’re so inclined, all that vice principal energy might strike you as endearing. To others, it’s a reminder that a certain kind of person just lives to set the rules.