Is Pete Buttigieg’s political future grounded without end after Southwest vacation journey catastrophe?

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The Christmas journey nightmare involving Southwest Airways has left widespread destruction with long-lasting penalties. It has been a tricky week for everybody concerned, from annoyed vacationers over practically 16,000 canceled flights to the fame of a once-favorite airline to the political way forward for Pete Buttigieg.

Individuals are inclined to have quick reminiscences, however this debacle left deep scars. Passengers who missed the household reunion will all the time bear in mind this episode, particularly after the previous two years of the vacation season have been lower quick by the pandemic.

Southwest and its administration will face a troublesome drawback with outdated expertise and misplaced priorities. On the high of that checklist is our obsession with going inexperienced and pouring hundreds of thousands of {dollars} towards “carbon neutrality” to appease the waking crowd. No phrase but on how a lot emissions have been lower amid the large grounding of flights this week.

For Secretary of Transportation Buttigieg, the complications are simply starting. Critics have questioned the town’s 100,000 inhabitants entitlement for the 40-year-old former mayor to supervise a authorities company with practically 60,000 staff.

Buttigieg comes below assault from each events throughout Southwest journey debacle

Already, he is change into a piñata inside his personal occasion. For formidable and gifted politicians trying to larger floor, this poses an issue. The Democratic Bernie Sanders marketing campaign is especially noisy. Nina Turner, who co-chaired Sanders’ 2020 marketing campaign, accused Buttigieg of “failing.”

One other co-chair, Rep. Ro Khanna (D-California), accused Buttigieg of ignoring the warning, tweeting that “this mess with the Southwest might have been averted.”

Some Republicans have had their very own critiques — principally centered on the $7 billion the Southwest acquired from taxpayers in COVID-aid — however sharper criticism got here from Buttigieg’s left. Sure, it is smart.

Having exceeded all expectations in 2020, Buttigieg is taken into account a rising star to look at within the years to come back. His transfer from vibrant pink Indiana, the place Democrats are dying out, to neighboring blue Michigan solely fueled that hypothesis.

Republican lawmakers blast Biden, Buttigieg after youngsters stranded in Baltimore amid airline chaos

Initially, Mr. Buttigieg’s cupboard place was seen as a stepping stone to larger workplace. Like Vice President Kamala Harris, it has change into a political lead balloon.

The Southwest debacle wasn’t the primary blemish on his resume. It was the newest episode in a rising sample of occasions. In 2021, the time period “provide chain” has turned from a textbook arcane time period to an actual ache for annoyed customers ready for what was as soon as available. Earlier this 12 months, it emerged that Buttigieg had been vacationing in Portugal, and rail contract negotiations upon his return headed for a strike.

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In the meantime, the Democratic Celebration’s present bannerman, 80-year-old Joe Biden, faces ongoing questions on his capability to run one other nationwide marketing campaign. A USA TODAY/Suffolk College ballot discovered that simply 8% of respondents referred to as his 66-80 years previous the perfect age for a president.

The Southwest debacle wasn’t the primary blemish on Buttigieg’s resume. It was the newest episode in a rising sample of occasions.

Sure, Biden’s Democrats loved a way more profitable midterm election than anybody anticipated, however his approval rankings stay nearer to 40 than 50.

To make certain, Buttigieg stays a reliable politician, with only a few seats and a determined want for younger faces. It isn’t out of the query that he can flip this whole episode into web constructive.


However one factor is evident: he must deal with it head-on. For practically all Democrats (and, sadly, too many Republicans), the federal authorities is the direct scapegoat for any drawback below the solar. The free market days are over and customers might punish Southwest Airways for selecting different airways.

For the Democrats, who will quickly be in search of their subsequent chief, Christmas 2022 may very well be a defining second for one in every of their main candidates.

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