Things That Matter

Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces

Just a few months ago, Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg was a relative unknown on the national political stage. After gaining traction with voters on the debate stage and at various town halls, the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, has made leaps in the pollsBut with more publicity now following Buttigieg means there will also be more scrutiny over his past. 

That past came to light on Tuesday morning as “Pete Buttigieg Is A Lying MF” was one of the topics trending on Twitter. This was all due to an opinion piece titled “Pete Buttigieg Is A Lying MF” that was written Michael Harriot, a senior writer from The Root. The piece highlights a recently resurfaced video of Buttigieg from 2011 where the-then candidate for mayor of South Bend said many minority children from low-income neighborhoods don’t know individuals who demonstrate the value of education. Ultimately, he makes the point that seeing more role models would help those children succeed.

“Kids need to see evidence that education is going to work for them,”Buttigieg said at the time. “You’re motivated because you believe that at the end of your education, there is a reward; there’s a stable life; there’s a job. And there are a lot of kids—especially [in] the lower-income, minority neighborhoods, who literally just haven’t seen it work. There isn’t someone who they know personally who testifies to the value of education.”

The resurfaced video was blasted on social media with many Twitter users saying the clip illustrates why Buttigieg has struggled to earn support from minority voters.

The video clip made waves on social media with people jumping on Buttigieg and pointing out his inability to connect with minorities, particularly black voters. This has been a continuing narrative following his campaign that has included criticism over the lack of black officials on his campaign team, his dismissal of South Bend’s African-American police chief and the small number of minority police officers after the shooting of a black man by a white police officer in June. 

“Mayor Pete’s bullsh—ery is not just wrong, it is proof,” Harriot wrote in the op-ed piece.“It proves men like him are more willing to perpetuate the fantastic narrative of negro neighborhoods needing more role models and briefcase-carriers than make the people in power stare into the sun and see the blinding light of racism.” 

For Buttiegieg, this couldn’t come at a worse time for his campaign as he has made strides in recent polling. This all comes amid reports that Buttigieg has struggled to win support from Black voters, especially from his hometown.  A recent Quinnipiac University poll found him at 0% with black voters in South Carolina. 

Buttigieg has since responded to the criticism saying that the video clip doesn’t show the full picture of what he knew then and what he knows now. 

“What I said in that comment before I became mayor does not reflect the totality of my understanding then, and certainly now, about the obstacles that students of color face in our system today,” Buttigieg told reporters at a campaign stop on Tuesday. “I believe I was speaking about the need for mentorship and the need for career pathways, but the problem is to the extent that that feels like it’s validating a narrative that sometimes blames the victim for the consequences of systemic racism, I understand why he [Harriot] was upset and I understand the perspective and largely agree.”

While Buttigieg is polling strong in states like Iowa and New Hampshire, the first caucus and primary states for the Democratic nomination, South Carolina will follow shortly after. This is notable because the state has a large African-American voter demographic that is crucial in winning, especially considering his inability so far to connect with minority voters.

While Buttigieg has attempted to make to deflect the controversy from the video clip, it has now started a conversation on how some minorities feel about white candidates’ view of them.

Twitter erupted with users not only calling out Buttigieg for his choice of words but the systemic disadvantage that many face when it comes to education.

The Root piece notes that Buttigieg had all the advantages as his father taught at the University of Notre Dame and his mother at another private high school. Buttigieg would graduate from Harvard University and also studied at the University of Oxford as a Rhodes Scholar.

“Majority-minority schools receive $23 billion less in funding than majority-white schools, according to a recent study.

Black students in Indiana, the state where Buttigieg serves as mayor, and across the country, are disciplined more harshly than white students.”

Buttigieg’s comments didn’t sit well with another Democratic candidate, Julián Castro, who wrote on Twitter about that educational disparity that many communities of color face.

Black and Brown families value education the same as white families. But even 65 years after Brown v Board, someone’s zip code too often predicts their success.  As long as neighborhoods remain segregated by race and income, the quality of our schools will be segregated too.” Castro wrote.

While Buttigieg has said that is campaign will make changes when it comes to black outreach, he has a long way to go if he is going to be taken seriously.

READ: Texas High School Teacher Was Caught Telling Latino Student To ‘Speak English’ On Video

Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

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Pete Buttigieg Supporter Wields Cane At Latino Black Lives Matter Protester During Event

@MaxLewisTV / Twitter

After a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Latino activist disrupted a Pete Buttigieg event led by South Bend’s black leaders, an elderly woman attempted to end the interruption with her cane. Reporter Max Lewis captured BLM activist Igor Rodríguez interrupting councilwoman Sharon McBride to demand, “Who are these black leaders?” Democratic hopeful and South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is polling at 0% with black South Carolina Democrats, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released last week. Buttigieg has received just six endorsements from current or former black or Latino elected officials compared to Biden’s 154 endorsements, according to a The New York Times report last month. Buttigieg has come under fire for his response to the death of Eric Logan, a black man, by white police officer Ryan O’Neill, and for the racial makeup of his police force.

With a crowd of protesters holding up BLM signs in the back of a room full of black Buttigieg supporters, Rodríguez stole the microphone from McBride and started to chant, “This is a farce. This is a farce.”

Soon after Black Lives Matter activist Igor Rodríguez started to question the political machination of the present leadership, an elderly woman stood up to hit him with her cane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

“Who organized this?” Rodríguez shouted while McBride stood at the podium. “Let her talk!” shouted one audience member repeatedly. “These black leaders are here to talk about Pete Buttigieg when people are having a crisis because of police violence,” Rodríguez continued on. Then, an elderly woman suddenly stood up in an attempt to attack Rodríguez with her cane. Several people crowded around her to block her advances, granting Rodríguez an opportunity to swiftly grab the microphone off McBride’s podium. Without missing a beat, he went on to demand into the microphone, “Who chose these people as the black leaders? Who organized this? We have a police crisis in this town. Why are we talking about Pete Buttigieg?”

“What kind of nonsense is this? What kind of nonsense is this?,” Rodríguez repeats, going on to begin a chant that would be echoed by the BLM protesters in the back of the room. “This is a farce! This is a farce!”

Black voters have spoken out against Buttigieg for his response to the fatal police shooting of Eric Logan, 54.

CREDIT: @JOSHUASHORTWNDU / TWITTER

Officials say that South Bend Police Department Sgt. Ryan O’Neill was responding to reports of a car break-in on June 16 when he encountered Logan. O’Neill maintains that Logan approached him with a knife and refused to drop it, prompting O’Neill to shoot Logan, but there is no video surveillance of the incident. O’Neill did not turn on his siren lights, which are connected to body cam footage. O’Neill told the dispatcher that the “guy threw a knife at me,” but Logan’s family is suspect to believe that Logan would ever attack a police officer with a knife. The family also wants to know why Logan was taken to the hospital, with a bullet to the abdomen, in a police cruiser instead of an ambulance. O’Neill resigned after weeks of protest.

Buttigieg left the campaign trail to discuss race and public safety in the days following Logan’s death. He met with BLM activists and took calls with them, but the activists didn’t leave the conversation feeling heard. “I remember he felt very rushed as if he wanted to check it off a box as something that he did,” Melina Abdullah, the co-founder of the BLM Los Angeles chapter told NBC.

Rodríguez’s comments have sparked mixed reactions.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

The interaction between Rodríguez and the cane-wielding woman has been cited as “the perfect encapsulation of white liberals who try and tell black people how they should think,” according to one Twitter user. “A white man stealing a mic from a black woman and telling her what to think? I don’t know how BLM thinks that was a good publicity for them,” tweeted one black woman. “He’s Latino… and was standing proudly with and for his black brothers and sisters who were also there making their voices heard. Don’t discount them… Pete already does not.” Rodríguez considers himself a “Bernie bro”, according to his social media. 

Though people are universally united in support of #GrandmaWithCane.

CREDIT: @MAXLEWISTV / TWITTER

I don’t care who you are and what you represent, but don’t be out here disrespecting our elders. They should of let grandma swing that cane just once,” tweeted @__Tiffany__84. “But #GrandmaWithCane is bringing me Joy tonight! Warms my heart!  #Respect!” replied @mcfetsch. “The cane wielder is 100% tired grandparent energy,” another commenter announced. Others are flocking to #GrandmaWithCane as representative of “every fed-up voter.”

READ: Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces

Pete Buttigieg Has Risen Onto The National Scene, But So Far He’s Failed To Connect With Latino Voters

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Pete Buttigieg Has Risen Onto The National Scene, But So Far He’s Failed To Connect With Latino Voters

pete.buttigieg / Instagram

Pete Buttigieg has a major problem on his hands. The relatively unknown mayor of South Bend, Indiana has made a splash on the national political scene in recent weeks but that has come at the cost of alienating one major demographic group: Latinos. 

While it’s been well documented about his struggles to connect with voters of color, specifically Black voters, Latino outreach from his campaign has largely been non-existent. Buttigieg is polling well when it comes to white voters, 42 percent, but things drop off drastically when it comes to Latinos as he has drawn a meager 5 percent in a recent Morning Consult poll.

This is important to note considering Latinos are on track to be the second-largest voting demographic in the 2020 election, 32 million are expected to be eligible to vote. So how does Buttigieg expect to connect with other voters that aren’t white? This should be the big question that his campaign team should be discussing if there is any chance of winning primaries in Nevada and in California, two largely Latino states. 

Buttigieg struggling to connect with Latino voters is an issue that should be receiving attention if he expects to win the Democratic nomination. 

Buttigieg’s struggles with Latino voters can be rooted back to some problematic instances. Recently, a 2011 TV interview clip with Buttigieg, then a candidate for the South Bend mayor, resurfaced on social media. In the video, Buttigieg says “a lot of kids” from “low income, minority neighborhoods” did not personally know a role model “who testifies to the value of education.” 

The clip ignited a firestorm of criticism on social media including having “Pete Buttigieg is a Lying MF” to trend on Twitter. Estuardo Rodriguez, a co-founder of The Raben Group public affairs firm, told Newsweek that this mishap is a perfect example of that disconnect that the mayor has with minority communities. 

 “This video goes to the root of why there may be a lack of interest in Mayor Pete from Black and Latino voters. His remarks in the video oversimplify the challenges some communities face,” Rodriguez said. 

Back in June, Buttigieg found himself is another heated moment when he visited an immigrant detention facility for children. He was met with protesters who shouted at him because he didn’t bother to climb ladders erected by the facility’s fence in order to see the children detained on the other side. Buttigieg was notably the only Democratic candidate that day that visited the facility who didn’t climb the ladder. 

When it comes to outreach, Buttigieg has also missed the mark with Latinos. He spent the majority of his time during his California campaign stop back in May at fundraisers rather than talking with Latino activists at the state’s Democratic Party’s convention.

“I could tell you some things that I know about him, but I don’t know what he’s saying he’ll do as president,” Miguel Cordova, who was at the California convention, told Buzzfeed. “It’s so easy for some people to jump in the race and all the sudden be considered a top contender, while someone like [Julian] Castro has been doing stuff and it’s like he’s not even polling as well [as Buttigieg].”

Buttigieg’s campaign is banking on winning primaries in Iowa and New Hampshire and use that energy to carry him forward. However, it may not be that easy, especially if he wants to win the Latino vote along the way. 

Josh Ulibarri, a Democratic pollster who has focused primarily on Latino voters, says that the reason there is a certain “disconnect “when it comes to Latinos and Buttigieg is simply a lack of familiarity. Compared to other candidates who are polling well with Latinos, like Joe Biden and Bernie Sanders, Ulibarri says that Buttigieg hasn’t connected with them mainly due to being unaware of what he stands for policy-wise.

“Him being stuck in the single digits is the big evidence here and for Latinos so far, it’s been all mostly Bernie and Biden,” Ulibarri said. “They have a lot of name recognition as they’ve known both candidates for years now. Pete is new and is a relative unknown to many Latinos when it comes to issues and familiarity. That matters.”

Buttigieg has acknowledged where he’s fallen short when it comes to outreach with communities of color and has vowed to improve on that. But the question of when and how is what concerns some voters that have seen Democratic candidates bank on Latino and Black votes later in the election cycle, instead of from the start. This is an issue that Julian Castro raised last month when discussing why some of the first primary elections are held in mostly white states like Iowa and New Hampshire. 

“It’s frustrating that this party has banked on the Latino vote instead on working for it all year,” Ulibarri said. “Voters say if he’s gonna come to our people, he’s coming too late in the election cycle once again.”

Adding insult to injury to Latino voters, Buttigieg recently accepted a donation to his campaign from McKinsey and Company.

Credit: @DJJudd / Twitter

McKinsey and Company, a management organization that does business with Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), recently announced a plan to cut funding for food and supervision. The decision on the funding is putting detainees at risk and Buttigieg has received $55,000 in donations from McKinsey and Company alums. When asked if he would return the donations, which some have called for, Buttigieg avoided the question leaving some thinking he is okay with the support of the organization he once worked for.

While there has been some outreach, Mayor Pete has a long way to go to make himself a serious contender for Latinos in the 2020 election cycle.

Buttigieg isn’t going to win Latino voters over with his centrist policies or his young fresh voice in the Democratic party, it’s going to have to be through getting to know him. Whether he gets that opportunity is still unknown but he understands the tall task ahead.  

“We’ve got to reach out in communities that haven’t had a chance to get to know me,” Buttigieg during an MSNBC town hall forum back in June. “If you are neither already famous with a long track record in national politics, nor yourself from a community of color, then, of course, it’s going to take longer for people to come to know and trust you.”

His campaign manager, Mike Schmuhl, told Politico that the campaign needs to “level up and expand” its outreach when it comes to Latinos.  He expects that the campaign will air bilingual ads in Nevada, the first primary after Iowa and New Hampshire, in “the very near future”. That will be followed by a “holistic” policy proposal that will be centered on Latinos in the next month.

“We will continue to ramp up our investments — that’s in paid media, in people on the ground, in Pete’s time in the states,” Schmuhl said. “It’s go time, right now.”

Whether it’s name recognition, policy and a questionable track record with minorities, Buttigieg has his work cut out for him, there’s no doubt about it. The question now is if it’s too late. 

“It’s a late start and he if doesn’t have any backing it may not work,” Ulibarri said. “Biden and Sanders have been active from the start and he’ll have some groundwork to make up. Pete hasn’t been here for too long and quite frankly, it shows.”

READ: Pete Buttigieg Faces Backlash After 2011 Video Claiming Minority Children Don’t Know Anyone Who ‘Values Education’ Resurfaces