The best way to think of Buttigieg’s candidacy, and its current embrace by the media, is as a timeout. The first quarter of the Democratic primary is coming to an end, and the teams are in a bit of disarray. The Robert Mueller report is a disaster for Democrats, and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez’s nonsensical ramblings are grabbing more headlines than is any Democratic contender for president. The race increasingly looks like it will come down to Biden, Sanders, and Beto. That’s not the primary most liberal commentators wanted or expected.
But timeouts are tactical. They don’t really change the game. There is no reason to believe Buttigieg will ever poll in the double digits, and there is plenty of reason to believe that he won’t. He is, simply put, not a serious candidate for president, but a placeholder while Democrats try to decide who they are. Who they are, however, is becoming increasingly clear, and it’s not the fainting couch faculty lounge crowd that so many believe it to be.