Does Pete Buttigieg see a problem in his presidential future? Maybe.
Maybe it’s that he peaked too early in Iowa. The touted Iowa State University poll had him in a solid first place with 26%. The latest poll, from Emerson, has him at 18% in the state. Nationally, he has been flirting with the top three. In the latest FOX News poll, he’s at 7%, and the Real Clear Politics average has him back in single digits, at 9.5%.
Maybe it’s his inability to connect with black voters. Yes, he has serious problems in South Carolina, but his issues with black voters track back his time as mayor of South Bend, IN. His demotion of a black police chief (which he still has not fully explained to any level of acceptableness,) how he handled a police-involved shooting where he was unresponsive to citizens and threw the South Bend policeunder the bus.
Even the campaign’s ham-fisted attempt to show black support was interrupted by a protest from Black Lives Matter. To be clear, the BLM protesters were wrong, and disrupting events the way they do is indecent if not totally predictable and boring. Back to the event, Buttigieg is trying desperately to build up his base of black voters; without them, you can’t win the Democratic nomination. He even put out his Douglass Plan to revitalize black America, and he claimed there were 400 endorsers of his plan in South Carolina.
He sent it to 400 South Carolinians, and then claimed them all as endorsers. But they weren’t endorsers. And 42% of the list wasn’t even black. True story.
Whether it is the disenfranchisement of the people of Puerto Rico or Latino neighborhoods denied access to clean air and water, Latinos in the United States have been burdened for too long by a legacy of systemic discrimination.
His plan also creates a $10 billion fund for minority entrepreneurs, and a proposal to award 25% of federal contracts to “underrepresented” groups. The plans also creates, “a path to citizenship for the approximately 11 million undocumented people living in the United States.“
Why this and why now? The polling. Quinnipiac shows that 29% of Latino voters see Buttigieg favorably. Compare that to 55% for Sen. Bernie Sanders, 50% for former VP Joe Biden and 35% for Sen. Elizabeth Warren. And then compare it to 30% favorability for President Donald Trump.
Mayor Buttigieg has run a smart, disciplined campaign. His success in Iowa is no small feat, and is not a fluke. But neither are his poor showings in Nevada, South Carolina and Super Tuesday states. He has peaked too early in Iowa (though he can still do well there,) and his path to the presidency now depends on continued claims of systemic racism and promises of promises…and two groups that don’t seem to be interested in what he’s selling or promising.