Mayor Pete and the Order of the Kong

As the Lion of the Senate appeared to snap to attention, Buttigieg asked whether the rest of the Democratic Party would ever “sort out what it thinks the meaning of opposition is.”

More than 15 years later, that skinny college junior with a bone to pick with the Democratic Party is putting forward his own vision for a liberal opposition as a presidential candidate — one that is deeply informed by his time in Cambridge. When Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., first broke through as a candidate during a CNN town hall in March, he pondered the future of American democracy and questioned the merits of the fixation among religious conservatives with sexuality in paragraph-length answers that his friends from his Harvard years recognized immediately as quintessential, undergraduate Pete.

“You listen to Pete talk now in town halls or otherwise and he’s saying the exact same things — it’s almost uncanny,” said Jason Semine, a former classmate.