Despite being an emerging frontrunner and with a relatively solid performance at the most recent Democratic Party presidential candidate debate on Wednesday night, the consensus among political commentators is that South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s lackluster support among black voters may cost him in both the Democratic primaries and, if he gets there, the 2020 general election.
Earlier this week, controversy embroiled Buttigieg when reports surfaced about the disastrous rollout of his proposed “Douglass Plan” this past July, which he intended to bolster his support among black Americans. Not only did the plan claim false endorsements from prominent members of the black community, but the face featured on a photo advertising the plan was a woman from Kenya. As The Daily Wire’s Ryan Saavedra reported:
Far-left Democrat presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is facing a new scandal involving the black community after reports surfaced over the weekend that indicated Buttigieg falsely claimed to have endorsements for his plan to reach out to the black community, used a stock photo from Africa to depict African-Americans, and falsely claimed that the plan had support from hundreds of black voters who were actually white.
That represents just one of Buttigieg’s many problems with black American voters. In fact, his motivation for the Douglass Plan rollout stemmed from his already-dwindling support in that community due to his firing of South Bend’s first black police chief and his poor handling of race relations while mayor of the city. Should his support continue to remain in the lower digits among black voters, Buttigieg may have no shot at the White House.
“All the fundraising in the world cannot save the young politician from Indiana, and doing well in a state that more closely resembles Norway than the rest of the United States does not help his case,” wrote Shermichael Singleton at The Hill. “His trouble with black voters runs deep, and there are two issues that make it clear why an overwhelming majority of them will not support his bid for president.”
Writing at The New York Times, Reid J. Epstein argued that Buttigieg’s support among black Americans is about as bad as it gets for a Democratic Party candidate.
Former Vice President Joseph R. Biden Jr. has 154 endorsements from current or former black or Hispanic elected officials. Senator Kamala Harris has 93. Senator Bernie Sanders has 91. Senator Cory Booker has 50. Senator Elizabeth Warren has 43.
Mayor Pete Buttigieg has six.
The South Bend, Ind., mayor has surged to first place in some Iowa polls and has built a big-money fund-raising operation that is the strongest in the Democratic presidential field.
But as his campaign has grown exponentially beyond the small band of loyalists who began it in January, Mr. Buttigieg has failed to demonstrate even minimal support among African-Americans and Hispanics, critical voting blocs that will have a much larger say after Iowa and New Hampshire, and their nearly all-white electorates, begin the presidential nominating calendar.
Over at The Daily Beast, Goldie Taylor argued that black voters simply do not trust Mayor Pete because he previously tried to build coalitions with conservatives.
“I had continued to give him the benefit of the doubt until learning of his past attempt to build a coalition with Tea Party activists — a movement fueled by white supremacy, bigotry and xenophobia in the midst of the Obama administration — as he campaigned for statewide office in Indiana, rather than creating alliances with people of color,” wrote Taylor. “As the Tea Party pledged to ‘take America back,’ setting the stage for Trump’s MAGA campaign, Buttigieg found them worthy partners.”