Pete Buttigieg spent some time in his home town Monday to celebrate the uniquely South Bend version of Dyngus Day.
Dyngus Day is a Polish holiday celebrating the end of Lent with eating, drinking, dancing and otherwise making merry. Historically in South Bend, the large groups of working class voters who come out for Dyngus Day so close to primary election day have been irresistible to politicians. So, the holiday celebration has turned into a political event.
The West Side Democratic and Civic Club was packed and hot as Buttigieg addressed the crowd.
“It has touched national politics in so many ways,” Buttigieg said of Dyngus Day. “Presidential candidates from Bobby Kennedy on through, coming through our community knowing that coming out on the day after Easter in fellowship to get to know voters one on one is politics at its finest.”
This is the first time since his official presidential campaign announcement more than a week ago that Buttigieg has addressed groups in South Bend. His campaign speech sounds a little different, more comfortable when given to the Democrats of South Bend, a group of people that may know Buttigieg the politician best.
“We didn’t go around promising we could turn back the clock. I didn’t go around saying only I can fix it. And, of course, the people of South Bend taught me a thing or two the hard way and that’s all right,” Buttigieg said.
He said America can learn from South Bend, “Let them learn that greatness lives in the everyday and there is no such thing as honest politics that revolves around the word ‘again.’”
Buttigieg thanked the raucous hometown crowd.
“No matter how many high tables I find myself at or interesting places coast to coast, no matter what happens, thanks to you, South Bend will always, always be home,” he said.
That sentiment was shared by Buttigieg’s husband, Chasten Glezman Buttigieg, who spoke briefly. “As we go out onto the trail, we need you and we’re going to rely on you to lift us up to be that family we always come home to,” he said.
Dyngus Day is a unique opportunity for voters to meet one on one with city politicians, ask them questions, get their views, have their voices heard.
Buttigieg finished by telling the crowd to take advantage of that. “Ask them what they believe in. Ask them what they care about," he said. "And ask them what they’ve done.”
Monday night Buttigieg will be far from the Dyngus Day celebrations as he appears on another CNN Town Hall scheduled for 11 p.m. in New Hampshire.