Mayor Pete Buttigieg of South Bend, Indiana, argued that his struggle for gay rights helps him connect with black voters. His comments were made during the fifth primary debate of the 2020 presidential election cycle Wednesday after Sen. Kamala Harris of California issued a grave warning to the Democratic Party about taking the voters for granted.
The discussion emerged after Harris was asked about her criticism of the mayor’s campaign for using a stock photo of two black people from Kenya to promote a plan to address racial inequality in the United States.
“For too long, I think candidates have taken for granted constituencies that have been the backbone of the Democratic Party and have overlooked those constituencies. And they show up when it’s, you know, close to election time, and show up in a black church and want to get the vote but just haven’t been there before,” Harris said.
“We’ve got to re-create the Obama coalition to win, and that means women, that’s people of color, that’s our LGBTQ community, that’s working people, that’s our labor unions. But that is how we are going to win this election, and I intend to win,” she added.
Despite his ongoing struggle to attract the support of black voters, which data shows is necessary for the success of any eventual Democratic presidential nominee, Buttigieg said he welcomes “the challenge of connecting with black voters in America who don’t know me,” and suggested that his life as a gay man can help him with that connection.
“Let me talk about what’s in my heart and why this is so important. As mayor of a city that is racially diverse and largely low-income for eight years, I have lived and breathed the successes and struggles of the community, where far too many people live with the consequences of a racial inequity that has built up over centuries, but then compounded by policies and decisions from within living memory,” he said.
“I care about this because my faith teaches me that salvation has to do with how I make myself useful to those who have been excluded, marginalized, and cast aside and oppressed in society. I care about this because while I do not have the experience of ever having been discriminated against because of the color of my skin, I do have the experience of sometimes feeling like a stranger in my own country,” he continued.
“Turning on the news and…