Mayor Pete’s identity politics may not be making the splash he hoped for among the LGBT elite, who are beginning to doubt whether he can win the Democratic nomination — much less beat President Trump in 2020.
According to a report in Politico, Hollywood’s top LGBT donors have not really warmed up yet to the junior politician. Though producer Ryan Murphy had originally scheduled an epic fundraiser at his home, with tickets costing $1,500 per person, the event has now been postponed due to the South Bend mayor having to temporarily pause his campaign activities to tend to a police officer-involved shooting death in his city.
“There’s a reason this group was so eager to meet Mayor Pete. For many of these influential donors, this will be their first ever chance to contribute to a viable gay presidential candidate,” reports Politico. “But some well-known LGBTQ donors in Hollywood offer a picture that that’s more nuanced: Many in showbiz are still keeping their options open.”
“As historic as Buttigieg’s candidacy might be, a number of Hollywood’s most prolific LGBTQ donors aren’t ready to commit to him exclusively just yet,” the report continued. “Many of Hollywood’s influential base of bundlers and donors are backing multiple candidates, spreading their money around, contributing to other politicians with whom they have longtime relationships and who have their own long track record on LGBTQ issues, like Kamala Harris and Joe Biden.”
None of that means the Hollywood LGBT donors do not feel enthusiastic about Buttigieg’s candidacy. In fact, some think he has quite a future ahead of him and are impressed by the way he answers difficult questions without seeming inauthentic. The issue hinges, instead, on whether or not he can actually deliver a victory by increasing black voter support and winning over swing states.
“If he can’t figure that out, that is a trouble spot in his campaign,” one donor told Politico.
“A lot of folks are investing beyond 2020 in Pete Buttigieg,” said another donor.
“Milk” screenwriter Dustin Lance Black told the outlet he personally met with Buttigieg this past May and came away confident in his belief that the openly gay candidate had qualities similar to Harvey Milk, including his ability to unite the LGBT community with working-class people.
“Black said that Buttigieg has ‘very similar instincts’ as Milk, and he plans to host a fundraising event for him,” reports the outlet. “Buttigieg’s candidacy, Black told me, ‘sends an incredible message that there’s nothing you can’t achieve as an openly gay person,’ he says. But, Black says, that doesn’t mean he’s decided that he’s voting for Buttigieg. ‘I haven’t and I won’t for some time decide on who I will vote for in the primaries,’ he said.”
While Democratic donors have largely heaped praise upon Buttigieg, his presence in the field has not prevented them from heaping similar praise on other candidates like former Vice President Joe Biden and Sen. Kamala Harris (D-CA). In fact, producer Ryan Murphy held a similar fundraiser at his home for Harris.