Republicans in Congress will not vote to impeach or remove President Donald Trump from office even though he attempted to extort and bribe Ukraine to investigate a political opponent. Regardless of this partisan dereliction of duty, the United States cannot afford four more years of corruption and polarizing rancor.

Trump’s sordid effort to withhold critical military aid failed because of the actions of honest citizens, and it has become indisputable the president and his cohorts, including Rudy Giuliani, acted with criminal intent. It has been disturbing watching Republican attack dogs like Jim Jordan and Devin Nunes trying to smear the integrity of non-partisan government witnesses who put their country first.

No matter how many ugly truths are revealed during the impeachment process, it is likely Trump will be the Republican candidate in the 2020 election. The majority of Americans are opposed to his presidency and need a worthy candidate who can beat Trump for the sake of the nation. Mayor Pete Buttigieg from South Bend, Indiana, merits your consideration if you haven’t settled on a candidate.

There are many reasons why Buttigieg has emerged as a viable candidate. Few knew the mayor’s name when he announced the formation of an exploratory committee last January to consider running for president. He is now the front runner in Iowa and New Hampshire where the first Democratic primaries will occur. According to his campaign website, Mayor Pete does not accept donations from federal lobbyists, corporate PACs or the fossil fuel industry.

If you have not seen the mayor in action, I encourage you to Google: Pete at the Liberty Justice Celebration. The speech he gave there reveals a pragmatic man who is smart and inspiring. He knows our badly polarized nation needs someone who can pull us together, and he evokes unifying energy. Trump has been an abject failure in that sense with his divisive rhetoric and illiterate, abusive tweets.

I have advocated that our health care system needs major reform. Ultimately, the solution is a single-payer system where profiteering is eliminated. Knowing that, I do not believe Elizabeth Warren or Bernie Sanders can win the presidency with their platform of forcing Medicare for all upon the nation. They will be painted as “scary socialists” who will take away your private insurance, even though many of us have been victimized by the existing medical system.

Mayor Pete supports a plan called Medicare for all who want it. He advocates that we improve Medicare coverages (I have suggested this solution in past columns). His plan would provide premium subsidies for low income participants similar to the Affordable Care Act and would allow people to opt in or keep their existing private coverage.

Rather than push for draconian health care changes that would alienate some voters, Mayor Pete’s plan allows you to choose. As has been said, “If you build it they will come.”

If Buttigieg is elected and creates an improved Medicare plan for all, there will be a stampede exiting the ranks of private insurance. The mayor proposes to fund his plan by rolling back the 2016 tax cuts that benefited the rich and corporations. It’s an intelligent and affordable start to fixing American health care and allows for an orderly transition.

Unlike recent presidents, Mayor Pete actually served in the military, doing a tour of duty in Afghanistan. He took a leave of absence from his mayoral term to deploy there, where he worked to disrupt terrorist financial networks. The mayor understands the needs of veterans and has outlined plans for their assistance on his website: peteforamerica.com

Buttigieg is the youngest candidate in the field, but that is not a negative. When I watch Trump, Biden, Warren and Sanders speak, it is apparent they are all past their pull date and are slipping due to age. We need vitality in our president, and Mayor Pete would bring youthful energy to the office. He has plenty of government experience (far more than Trump) and is qualified for the job.

Given the current state of the national debt, it behooves us to have someone in office from a younger generation with an eye toward America’s long-term economic future. The greatest generation and the boomers have done a lousy job of governing (AKA $23 trillion in debt and mounting) when it comes to fiscal responsibility.

I encourage readers to visit Buttigieg’s campaign website. There is articulate wisdom voiced throughout as he discusses plans to lower the cost of education, to reduce student debt, to build affordable housing which would reduce the homeless problem, and to expand paid family and medical leave. He also has plans to improve women’s rights and pay, to increase the minimum wage, to develop programs that address economic inequities for minorities, and the creation of effective gun control reforms. Mayor Pete’s platform will build a stronger country that serves the majority of Americans.

The one negative I have heard friends and acquaintances voice regarding Mayor Pete is that they fear our country will not elect a gay man. These people are not critical of the mayor for being gay, but are concerned homophobic people will not vote for him. I do not believe that is true for most Americans. We all have friends and family members we love and respect who are gay.

The majority of us don’t care about skin color, religious preference or sexual orientation. It’s the integrity a person brings to the presidency that matters, and this quality is currently nonexistent in the Oval Office.

People said Americans would not elect a black man president. Obama was elected twice.

Others claim a woman cannot be elected, but Clinton would have been president but for the anachronism of the Electoral College, and America will eventually have a female president.

The majority of Americans do not exercise their vote based upon prejudicial stereotypes.

They want a statesman or woman at the helm of our troubled ship who will work both sides of the aisle to benefit all Americans. Pete Buttigieg merits your consideration. He has the ability to restore dignity to the office of the presidency, and to get America moving forward to resolve its major issues. Who doesn’t crave that these days?

Jesse Robison is a Pocatello native who has lived in Mexico and other places. He was educated at Idaho State University and University of Idaho. Robison works as a mediator and insurance law consultant, but his passion is public art. He has spearheaded numerous art improvements throughout Pocatello, including the Japanese garden located at Pocatello Regional Airport, and he serves on the Bistline Foundation. Robison currently resides in Pocatello.