Hey Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is a hot dog a sandwich?

Image for article titled Hey Mayor Pete Buttigieg, is a hot dog a sandwich?
Photo: Stephen Maturen/ (Getty Images), Graphic: Natalie Peeples

Pete Buttigieg is a singular presidential candidate in one important sense: He is the only to candidate to have answered the question of whether a hot dog is a sandwich in advance of his interview with The Takeout. We applaud his forethought in tackling this question from the get-go. His answer: No.


The rest of his biographical details are as follows: At the wizened age of 37, Buttigieg has served as the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, since 2012. He served in the War in Afghanistan; attended Harvard University; studied at Pembroke College, Oxford, on a Rhodes Scholarship; and is the first openly gay Democratic candidate to run for President.

Though he’s already weighed in on the question of a hot dog’s inherent sandwichness, The Takeout needed to confirm Buttigieg’s stance for ourselves. Would he prove himself to be a hot dog flip-flopper? We reached him by phone in South Bend, Indiana, to ask.

The Takeout: Are you still of the mind that a hot dog is not a sandwich? And if so, what elements of the hot dog make it inherently not a sandwich?

Pete Buttigieg: My position on this has been very consistent throughout the campaign. It’s about form. It’s about symmetry. It’s about the fact that if you put a toothpick through a sandwich, it should go through bread, and through meat or other filling, and then through bread again. And you just can’t say that for a hot dog.


Implied Kappa

This is the kind of answer that could sound serviceable only if you are already in love with Mayor Pete and don’t actually engage with the policy he’s espousing on any meaningful level before giving it the seal of approval.

A toothpick pushed through a grilled cheese or PBJ will not go bread-meat-bread, as there is no meat. These are clearly still sandwiches. A toothpick pushed through a hot dog will go bread-meat-bread from most angles. There are also angles you could push a toothpick through a ham and Swiss that would just go meat-bread, bread-meat, or even just meat. If your toothpick does not go bread-meat-bread in a hot dog, you are selectively choosing an angle that makes it fail your test without applying the same selectivity to a Cuban.

This is the seam argument disguised as something new, except it reveals itself to be less logically sound under even a cursory amount of scrutiny. Yes, less logically sound than the seam argument, which I previously considered to be the gold standard for shortsighted “not a sandwich” arguments.

You’re out of your element, Pete.