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Rushing Out As He Lived

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I find the idea of Pete Buttigieg being the Democratic nominee to be…essentially silly. But the fact that an openly gay man has a delegate lead coming out of New Hampshire (however evanescent it will be) really is historic news, and in some sense the fact that it’s not being widely treated as a big deal is a big deal. The last Democratic president, after all, was a nominal opponent of same-sex marriage when he took office. In what has been a largely dismal period in American history the amount of progress on LGBT rights really has been quite remarkable.

But the victory is far from complete. Donald Trump recently debased the Presidential Medal of Freedom by bestowing it on one of the most toxic and damaging assholes to have played a major role in American political discourse in the last half-century, and he’s going out doing the stuff that made Donald Trump a big fan:

Allies of President Trump have sharply focused attention on the sexual identity of presidential contender Pete Buttigieg in recent days, questioning in stark terms whether Americans are ready for a gay candidate who kisses his husband onstage.

The attacks are prompting blunt responses from Buttigieg’s allies and even his Democratic rivals, who call the remarks inappropriate and offensive. The exchanges were ignited by radio host Rush Limbaugh, who received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from Trump last week and who framed his comments as an ostensible analysis of how Democrats feel.

“They’re sitting there and they’re looking at Mayor Pete — a 37-year-old gay guy, mayor of South Bend, loves to kiss his husband on the debate stage. And they’re saying, okay, how’s this going to look, a 37-year-old gay guy kissing his husband onstage next to Mr. Man Donald Trump? What’s going to happen there?” Limbaugh said. (Buttigieg is 38.)

Donald Trump becoming the defining figure of the Republican Party is truly a riddle that will never be solved.

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