Pete Buttigieg’s confusing ‘shape of our democracy’ quote is inspiring memes

By Nicole Gallucci

While Pete Buttigieg is deeply concerned about “the shape of our democracy,” Twitter users are deeply concerned about Buttigieg’s ability to create a giant word salad.

On Thursday night, the Democratic candidate from South Bend, Indiana, answered questions at a CNN Town Hall, and one of his responses was so confusing that it still has people talking. At the televised event, public high school teacher Kathy Eicher asked Buttigieg: “If you were only permitted to accomplish one thing when president, what specifically would it be?”

“Just one?” Buttigieg replied, before raising his eyebrows and laughing. “Wow.” 

After doing his best impression of Auguste Rodin’s “The Thinker,” Buttigieg answered: “Well, let me say this. It’s not a sizzling, glamorous issue, but the shape of our democracy is the issue that affects every other issue.”

Buttigieg then launched into a very wordy explanation. “So in order for us to get better outcomes on funding public education, on dealing with gun violence, and, think about this: 90 percent of Americans, the vast majority of Republicans, of gun owners, think we ought to at least be doing universal background checks and it still doesn’t happen,” he said.

“So my point is, there are so many issues and areas, from climate change, to gun violence, to economics, where Americans want something and Washington cannot deliver, that if you’ve gotta pick one thing to fix, it’s politics. It’s Washington. And there are concrete things we can do about it. Getting money out of politics, uh, I know you said one thing but I’m going to take the liberty since we’re in a hypothetical…”

After being reminded that Eicher asked for “one thing,” Buttigieg said, “Alright, one bill along the lines of H.R. 1,” but people were still trying to decipher his first answer.

Some made jokes about his words being incoherent, while others compared his answer to that one scene from The Simpsons. Even former candidate Marianne Williamson had strong words for Buttigieg.

If I had said it, there’d be jokes about my being on acid. And I would never have said it.

— Marianne Williamson (@marwilliamson) February 7, 2020

Let’s make a Pete Buttigieg tweet generator thread. I’ll start.

America is ready to unlock the boldness enmeshed within the dreams of democracy. We are ready for a brave new path. The guiding hand of our values is unimpaired by the trials of yesterday’s tomorrow.

— Aren R. LeBrun (@proustmalone) February 7, 2020

The color of our democracy is the hue that blends every other issue.

Also the shape of my eye roll is the gesture that affects every other face palm. https://t.co/WAw6O6sQs7

— Maddy-care for all #LFG🗽 (@madsmaru) February 7, 2020

I wonder if Buttigieg is just a really, really big fan of Guillermo del Toro’s The Shape of Water.

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