The website everyone following the 2020 Democratic Primaries needs to read

If you’re not a Pete Buttigieg fan, I understand your hesitation to this post. After all, I run a website called Why Mayor Pete, a Facebook page of the same name and my Twitter name is “Mayor Pete Fangirl”. Clearly I’m #TeamPete. But stay with me, even if he’s not your candidate, because the website I’m sending you to is not, in fact, or any other Boot Edge Edge enthusiast site.

The website I think you should follow is one heck of an undertaking by someone I only know through their Twitter handle, but whom I have come to respect and admire as a fellow writer, content marketer and analytics nerd. This website gives you charts and graphs, plus commentary from every campaign email for every 2020 Democratic Presidential Nominee.

The site is aptly titled “But Their Emails” where the author has subscribed to each and every email list from each and every candidate, then provides a daily blog post brimming with side-by-side information about the campaign’s email marketing tactics.

I’ve been surprised by some of the conclusions I’ve drawn from this comparison, and how it affects my top choices. I will of course vote blue no matter who, but seeing the frequency and tone of the emails from the candidates has influenced who I support and who has been moved lower on my list.

I encourage you to check it out and draw your own conclusions.

20 Questions for Mayor Pete from Twitter’s #TeamPete

What questions would Pete Buttigieg supporters ask him if they had the chance? I took to Twitter to find out.

Pete Buttigieg seems to say yes to every media opportunity, and as someone in marketing/PR, I love the strategy. He’s getting his message out there and it is resonating with people. He also takes questions almost every time he speaks at an event, but there are so many people who only know him from afar, and they have questions too! Enter #TeamPete, a group of individuals from all over the country (and the world), who have connected on Twitter under that and other hashtags in support of Mayor Pete. (not to be confused with official members of the campaign who also use #TeamPete)

Sometimes, we wonder about serious things, like his thoughts on education reform, and other times, you can find us musing about who made his laminated list of celebrity crushes.

For example, a buddy of mine from Twitter posed this question the other day:

Which sparked me to ask what people thought his Enneagram type was (general consensus: 5). Then, I started to wonder what #TeamPete would ask him if we had the opportunity to ask him questions. Naturally, I tweeted my thoughts:

The responses were an eclectic mix of hard hitting and lighthearted questions, and some of them, I had to google to know what they are (I’m looking at you, Ghurka). I’ve included the top 20 questions below, but there are a few more on Twitter if you’d like to check them out!

Though we aren’t official media by any means, I would love if somehow Pete Buttigieg could answer these questions.

  • We talk a lot about prison reform & ending privately owned prisons. What would you do to improve accountability in county jails & can funding be directed back to them so private companies stop the revolving door system they’re profiting so we’ll off? No1 should profit from jails @snowflake4pete
  • I’d love to know what topics/chapters didn’t make the final cut for your book! @MelanieMN9
  • What would you do about research funding? And lifting current restrictions on research? Especially to major research universities? @ClintonDC
  • What’s your dream vacation? @RDU4Pete
  • Would you be willing to secure federal funding to help county/city LGBT organizations provide outreach programs for mental health in geographies that often encounter homophobia or a lack of resources? @cosimads
  • How do you remain calm & steady in an environment of chaos? @SeattlePeteVol
  • In South Bend, you have Mayor’s night out. I would love to know if you can envision a way, as President, to get to hear directly from people about the things impacting their lives. @gpmominoh
  • What is your specific plan for public education (besides getting a new secretary of education who believes in public education)? @czeigen4
  • How many white shirts and blue ties do you have? @mo_necar
  • How do you judge a good advisor? @Seattle4Pete
  • Name one place you have always wanted to visit and why? @SharonlD1260
  • What plan would you have for assisting millennial single parents for going back to school and furthering their education? @DenaeEdgeEdge
  • Which five albums would you want if you were stranded on a desert island? @70sPete
  • What would your process look like for selecting advisors, Cabinet members, and other appointees? What characteristics would you prioritize when building your team? @nerdypursuit 
  • Thurifer or no thurifer? @Lutheran4Pete
  • What are you going to do to protect our public lands and national parks? @wendyjgmom
  • What’s the best advice your parents ever gave you and how did it make a difference in your life? @SeelyeTracy
  • Did you smoke Ghurkas in Afgahanistan because you liked them, or was that the only choice available? @IdahoforPete
  • What are your thoughts on Brexit? @nicolesnider73
  • Are the nesting peregrine falcons still in their box above your office in SB? @1kartmania

There you have it! Questions from the grassroots team for their chosen candidate. If he’s answered these questions somewhere, let us know!

What would YOU ask Mayor Pete given the chance? Please say it’s better than what I asked him.

Pete Buttigieg is the Brené Brown of Politics

He’s living out Brené Brown’s principles on the national stage.

“Have you heard of Brené Brown” is not what I expected to come from my lips when I had the tremendous opportunity to meet Mayor Pete in person.

Let me back up a little, to help you understand how unlikely and how timely it was for me to be able to meet Mayor Pete. I started this website in April with the goal of sharing people’s stories on why they support Mayor Pete because I know the power of storytelling, thanks in large part to Brené Brown.

When I listened to Shortest Way Home, I felt like I was listening to Brené star student. His conversational tone made you feel like you were sitting across the table from him sipping your favorite coffee. His vulnerability and authenticity left you feeling like he was an old friend.

Walk back a little further with me, then I promise to bring it all home.

Two years ago, life as I knew it blew up in my face, and without the support of an amazing friend and her continued evangelizing of Brené Brown, I don’t know where I would be. Probably not here, that I can say for sure.

Brené Brown, my husband and my therapist helped me get on a path toward wholehearted living. I’m not there yet, because I think it’s a lifelong journey, but I’ve come a long way in the last two years. In a nutshell, I went from an insecure wallflower who wanted everyone, anyone to like her to an unashamed human who, on most days, loves and accepts herself. Dr. Brown’s books, Rising Strong, Daring Greatly and Braving the Wilderness changed my life. I know that’s not the order she published them, but that’s the order I read them, and they were each exactly what I needed, exactly when I needed them.

I have made tremendous strides but things are far from perfect. I published a book, but I have a hard time being brave enough to promote it. I discovered something minor that I’m proud of, but I’m still afraid to share the details with the world. And though we have a lot to be grateful for, this summer has been particularly difficult on my family. We are dealing with the common struggles of living paycheck to paycheck: anxiety, sleep deprivation, economic insecurity (which is a real thing and not necessarily synonymous with racism). Right now, we are pretty much, as Bernie Sanders likes to say, “One paycheck away from poverty.” I like Bernie, y’all. I was all in for him in 2016. I love his “damn the man, save the empire” attitude, but this year calls for something different. Sanders would’ve been a great successor to Obama, and so would Hillary Clinton, but we need the antithesis of Trump in 2020, and you couldn’t get more different than Trump than Mayor Pete. Like Trevor Noah said, “I wouldn’t be surprised if he has the world’s largest hands.

When I found out Mayor Pete was going to be speaking at Essence Festival, I knew I had to be there. Logistically, it was going to be difficult, but what an opportunity. I missed my chance to see the future president back in 2008 when Obama spoke at Tulane. I wasn’t as involved in politics as I am now (becoming a mom later that year changed me). Still, I thought it would have been really cool to say, “I saw the president speak” if he were to clinch the nomination and defeat the Republican challenger. You all know how that turned out. So, here I am, over a decade later, much more politically active (though still woefully behind where I’d like to be) finding out that my top choice in the primaries is coming to my city so early on the campaign trail.

Then, I found a flyer for a fundraiser which was to be held immediately following Essence and thought, “Oh my gosh, I can do more than see him, I can meet him!” My bubble burst as soon as I saw the ticket prices. I know candidates have to raise money, and I respect that, but I was sad. I was thankful to see him at Essence, but like I said, it’s been a hard summer, and I knew meeting someone I admire would be a break in the clouds.

I lamented to some friends who understood my plight, which graciously led to me getting a ticket to the event. I couldn’t believe it. I was going to meet Mayor Pete. Or so I thought. I really didn’t know what to expect because I’m not the type of person to attend political fundraisers. I hoped I would meet him and not make a fool of myself. Spoiler alert: I did and I did.

At the event, I was among his supporters, and our mutual admiration for him, and the hope he inspires in us, connected us across age, sex, gender, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation, religion and political affiliation. We were a mostly white group, which I think is important to acknowledge, even though I don’t think it’s a reason to write him off before hearing his message. That’s another topic for another day though.

Mayor Pete brings out authentic people because authentic people can sense authenticity. He has said, “The more you know about exclusion, the more you think about belonging,” and “We have a crisis of belonging in this country.” Brené Brown’s work is based around vulnerability, authenticity and belonging.

So, here I am, having been given this awesome opportunity to shake his hand and get a picture with him and I lose my chill. (by the way, huge shoutout to his team member who graciously and effectively kept things moving, like a boss. I’m sorry I can’t remember your name) Instead of telling him how much he inspires me, instead of telling him that I think he’s the best person for the job, instead of telling him what amazing supporters he has, I said, “Have you heard of Brené Brown?” ::facepalm::

I had been casually wondering if he was familiar with her work, since he’s basically her work, personified, and I guess since I was, I don’t know, kind of starstruck, and I blurted out what had been on my mind these last few months.

Naturally, he was taken aback so I had to repeat my ridiculous question, even though I wanted to pull the words back into my mouth and start over. He was so gracious. Just like I would hope to be if someone ever asks me an off the wall question. He said yes, and I believe he knows who she is, but I’m not sure if he knows he is the quintessential character in Daring Greatly.

Intentional or by happenstance, he is living out Brené Brown’s principles on the national stage. I believe he can beat Trump and begin to stitch our divided country back together, but no matter how this all plays out, I am grateful for his voice in the larger conversation.

“Vulnerability is the birthplace of love, belonging, joy, courage, empathy, and creativity. It is the source of hope, empathy, accountability, and authenticity.” – Brené Brown

How was it to meet Pete Buttigieg in person?

How was it to meet Mayor Pete? Did meeting him change my opinion of him? I had to write down my thoughts on Pete Buttigieg after seeing him in New Orleans the weekend of Essence Festival.

I want to write down my thoughts about my experience meeting Pete Buttigieg before they get too far from my head, yet while I’m not so overcome with emotion that I can’t find the words. Thanks to the support and generosity of #TeamPete, specifically one person whom I thank so much I fear it’s getting annoying, I was able to attend a political fundraiser for Mayor Pete this weekend in New Orleans.

I need you guys to understand, I am not a person who attends political fundraisers. The tickets range from $2000 down to $250. This is basically him trying to earn the money to be in the debates, and run his campaign. On one hand, I really hate it because money was my only barrier. It’s not for lack of enthusiasm. Even though I work hard in an educated, I cannot afford to spend $250 on two hours. That amount of money is school supplies for my kids, our car insurance payments, or groceries for a couple weeks (at most). I don’t have $250 to spend even on a campaign I believe in with all my heart. My donations have been between three and five dollars, except the time I bought my family Boot Edge Edge merchandise and spent $75 in one sitting. And if I’m being honest, that wasn’t the wisest thing for me to do, but at least we got some shirts out of our contributions.

When I arrived at the fundraiser, I had to stop traffic so I can parallel park, and usually when I do that, which is very often living in this city, people get angry at me as if me parking is a direct affront to them. As if I’m trying to prevent them from getting where they are going. But the couple in the car behind me waved me on and smiled politely when they passed. My first thought was, “I bet they are Mayor Pete supporters because mayor Pete supporters are the best people on the planet.” I went to this event completely out of my league as far as financial means go. If you have $2000 to give to a presidential campaign, even if that means you get to meet him and get a picture with him, you’re out of my league. Like I don’t even know what it looks like to have that kind of money to spend on an afternoon. And yet, I belonged there. I belonged because Mayor Pete brings a sense of belonging that transcends age, race, class, sexual orientation; what unifies us is our desire to belong, our desire to be ourselves and to be accepted for who we are. And as I wandered the room, I felt comfortable, as if I belonged with those who were different than me in almost every way. I made so many new friends, acquaintances and connections simply because of our shared support for Mayor Pete.

Pete Buttigieg New Orleans
Seriously most of us did not know each other before the event.

Remember, this is just the first part of the fundraiser. He hasn’t even shown up yet. When he did though, the joy in that room was palpable. People feel hopeful when they see him because we think he can heal our nation are deeply broken nation. I have Democrats attacking me, a bleeding heart liberal because I don’t support their candidate.

Mayor Pete’s vision for our country aligns with mine- a country, and a political party, that is united not divided. We are all different, yes. And some of us know far more suffering than others simply because of the gender we were given, our sexual orientation, the color of our skin, or the number in our (or our parent’s) bank account. But we almost all know suffering of some kind. Most of us have been “othered” in one way or another, and he wants to bring all of us “others” together, to allow our differences to unite us instead of divide us. I don’t see this talk, at least not so clearly, from any other candidate, and I admire and respect most of the people running. I know all of their voices are important to this moment, but we can only have one leader, and I believe in my heart of hearts that Mayor Pete is the leader we need. Seeing the way he answered questions and connected with the audience at the fundraiser was a game changer for me. And we haven’t even gotten into his message yet. Stay tuned.


MJ’s Why

Hi. I’m M.J., the owner and author of this site. I’ve been blogging in one way or another for over 10 years. In that time, I’ve told and read thousands of stories to strangers online. I’ve made connections with, and learned from, people, specifically women, and more specifically, moms from all over the country and all walks of life. I’ve met women across all racial, political, economical, educational, generational spectrums, including my favorite group, hot mess express moms. Often, the women I met fell into multiple, sometimes seemingly contradictory categories. Each woman, each person, has a story. An underlying motive that drives them to their beliefs. Most of them are valid, though some are rooted in fear and/or ignorance, but almost everyone is fueled politically by a desire to achieve belonging and satisfaction in this life. I know I am. I’m also a hot mess express.

I want to tell you my why. Why, after spending most of my life, politically apathetic, only bothering to engage in politics after the 2016 election, I am devoting time and energy to spread the gospel of Pete Buttigieg.

The last two years, the highest office in the land has been filled with hateful rhetoric, fearmongering, fake news, bullying and disgrace. And this is all I’ve ever known of politics.

I lived in a bubble of privilege without knowing it. I knew I had white-privilege, but I didn’t know my privilege as a straight, white Christian woman protected me from so many policies hurt fellow Americans, fellow humans. I am ashamed for not realizing it sooner, but I cannot go back. I can only move forward and do my part now. I wish I had used my words more in 2015, to speak truth to the lies being spread by the GOP candidates, Fox News and conservatives on Facebook. I wish I had realized sooner that my silence was complicity. In the words of Maya Angelou, “When you know better, do better.”

I know better now, and I’m doing better.

For the first time in my life, I have hope for the future of the United States. For the first time in years, I can imagine a better tomorrow. I have faith that this country will be better for my children than it has been for me. I imagine a post-school shooting America. One where it won’t matter who has guns because no one will be prone to murder. (I’m not saying I don’t want gun laws, obviously. (I know many of you are thinking I don’t need that disclaimer, trust me, I’ve been on social media since it’s inception, I need that disclaimer)).

Pete Buttigieg transcends politics. He transcends all our groupings because he brings his whole self to the table. A Maltese-American, left-handed millennial, gay, Christian, war veteran, midwestern, mayor cannot be put into a group, yet, he belongs to ever group. To quote Brene Brown who quoted and pays homage to Maya Angelou in her book, Braving the Wilderness, “You only are free when you realize you belong no place — you belong every place — no place at all.” Brown goes onto describe her journey from hating that quote, to living by it. She tells her story, which brings us back here.

Storytelling is one of the most vulnerable and powerful things we can do. Our stories have the power to change hearts and minds. Pete Buttigieg is telling us his story, allowing us to know what drives him, and it is clear that the betterment of society for the people of this country, all the people, is his motivation.

Being able to bring your full self to the table takes courage, acceptance, wisdom and humility. I’m here bringing my whole self, to this space, including my overuse of parentheticals, my unadulterated truth and my random humor. Pete brings his whole self to the table when he speaks. He is not speaking to gain votes, he is speaking from his heart.

Pete’s own story is my why. Telling yours is my mission.

Share your why by emailing me at or by filling out this form.