Buttigieg’s résumé and political instincts have appeal to conservatives in a way that has, at least temporarily, complicated right-leaning punditry that has found plenty to dislike about other Democratic candidates.
He’s a veteran of the war in Afghanistan who often speaks at length about his record of military service. He’s the mayor of a smaller post-industrial Midwestern city who focuses on issues with bipartisan appeal like infrastructure. He hasn’t been afraid to empathize with Trump voters who have been “left behind,” or criticize popular Republican punching-bags like Hillary Clinton. And he has largely attempted to avoid culture-war issues, even praising Chick-fil-A sandwiches.
Pressed with how to handle a gay military veteran who lacks the obvious political baggage of many of his primary opponents, some on the right have actually embraced Buttigieg, while others are honing their attacks.
Specifically, it seems, Buttigieg has most appealed to Trump-skeptical conservative and center-right pundits.