While Pete Buttigieg has suspended his presidential campaign, he will not be gone for too long. “It is good to be back in South Bend,” Buttigieg told his supporters in his hometown on Sunday evening, speaking of the “difficult decision” he had just made. Nonetheless, Buttigieg stated that he will ensure America gets a Democratic president again, who ends the “chaos” that President Trump has caused.

Why Did Buttigieg Drop Out?

Buttigieg’s exit is the consequence of a subpar performance in the South Carolina primary, where he obtained just eight percent of the vote — and therefore not a single delegate. Buttigieg’s run in the presidential race started with considerable momentum. He won the Iowa caucus a month ago and finished second behind Bernie Sanders in the New Hampshire primary. Buttigieg outclassed former Vice President Biden and seemed to have a legitimate shot at occupying the moderate lane of the field.

The reality check came at the Nevada caucus, however. Biden made a comeback and finished second behind Sanders, while Buttigieg obtained only 14 percent of the vote. A debacle in South Carolina followed, and Buttigieg had to drop out. One of the reasons is the lack of support among the African-American community because Joe Biden has long been the Democratic candidate of choice for a plurality of black voters in the state.

Buttigieg’s Timely Warnings About a Bernie Sanders Presidency

Buttigieg went after Bernie Sanders continuously. It was only during the recent debate that he warned of a Sanders presidential nomination. According to Buttigieg, Sanders’ nomination would not only lead to “four more years of Donald Trump,” but also endangers the Democratic majority in the House of Representatives. Like the President, the House will also be elected on November 3. Besides, a third of the Senate is also available for election. Buttigieg’s message: with Sanders, the Republicans will win it all, as socialism does not sell in America.

Buttigieg’s exit now is an opulent gift for Joe Biden and a disaster for Sanders, right before Super Tuesday. With Buttigieg’s departure, moderate voters have become available, and Biden should be the beneficiary.

Buttigieg’s Decision Was Smart and Strategic

However, Buttigieg’s exit is also consistent and, most importantly, smart. He was convinced that he would lose convincingly in predominantly white elections in Massachusetts and Minnesota, the home states of Elizabeth Warren and Amy Klobuchar. Thus, Buttigieg would very likely have missed the 15 percent hurdle relevant to the allocation of delegates in several states.

To believe Buttigieg simply dropped out of the goodness of his heart or, for the sake of the party, is almost naive, however. Instead, it seems highly likely that Buttigieg’s agenda was never aimed at 2020 in the first place but rather a trial for the 2024 election.

Buttigieg himself is way too smart and talented to believe that a South Bend Mayor could prevail – the quality of the field notwithstanding. With his run for the nomination now over, however, he has not only established a national profile but a following. One year ago, the people of South Bend might have struggled to recognize him. Now, the whole country, and indeed the whole world, knows Pete Buttigieg.

It is, therefore, difficult to imagine that Buttigieg will simply return into the anonymity of South Bend. Instead, Buttigieg will likely venture onto the big stage: to Washington. Here, the Senate or the House are conceivable options. And while Indiana is a conservative state, his run at it would not be easy but certainly possible.

However, Buttigieg’s debut on the main stage could occur even sooner as he would undoubtedly receive consideration to be in a potential cabinet under Biden or Bloomberg. Whichever it may be, Mayor Pete is here to stay, and he has the pedigree to not only play a prominent role within the party but work towards becoming its face within the next four years when he can make an earnest bid to become commander-in-chief.