Buttigieg at Claflin: Get to know the candidate

Jan 22, 2020

Pete Buttigieg makes a stop at the S.C. State bowling lanes on Dec. 2, 2019. He took part in a tour of the campus sites associated with the Orangeburg Massacre. (Special to The Panther)


If you don’t know who Pete Buttigieg is, you might want to find out soon.

With his upcoming visit to Claflin University’s campus on Thursday in Ministers’ Hall,

Buttigieg joins the cast of Democratic presidential candidates flocking to Orangeburg in an effort to win the rural, black and HBCU student vote.

Scheduled to begin at 5 p.m., with doors opening at 4 p.m., the visit by Buttigieg comes as a guest appearance on Angela Rye’s podcast, On One with Angela Rye. Previously featured on the podcast have been Sen. Elizabeth Warren and former candidate Sen. Kamala Harris, both of whom visited South Carolina State University on their campaign trails.

Buttigieg’s visit to Claflin is a bit peculiar, as he has not fared well with black people or South Carolinians in the polls, coming in at an average of 6.3% in South Carolina as of Jan. 21 and as the second most unfavorable candidate for black Americans, according to a joint study by the Washington Post and Ispos.

So, a widely unpopular candidate is coming to our campus. If you are planning on going to see him, here are five things you should know:

Douglass Plan

Buttigieg’s “comprehensive” plan, named after Frederick Douglass and intended to measure up to the post-war Marshall Plan from last century, the Douglass plan is a lengthy proposal including enticing promises of health equity, criminal justice reform, voting rights and black history education among other things. He pitches it as an effort to lift up all minority communities by focusing on uplifting Black America.

Issues with black community home and nationally

Buttigieg has had a hard time with the black community in his city of South Bend, Indiana, since he fired a well-liked black police chief in 2012. More recently, after a South Bend police shooting in which a black man was murdered, Buttigieg struggled even more to gain footing with black voters. His mishandling of racial issues has left many black voters less than impressed and his lack of notoriety has many black voters simply unaware of who he is.

Pull on black endorsements

For Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan, his campaign reached out to hundreds of black South Carolinians for endorsements, but not necessarily to support him as a candidate. Immediately after the names were announced, many people listed had to announce that they did not support Buttigieg as a candidate and criticized the delivery of the plan for its vagueness, which many thought was intentional.

Homophobia accusations

After organizing a small focus group of 24 undecided black voters, a memo was leaked noting Buttigieg’s sexuality as a problem for black voters. Notable politicians from South Carolina have also noted his sexuality as a possible hindrance to gaining approval among black South Carolinians, which added to the counter narrative online that found it unfair to assume black voters were homophobic and that Buttigieg’s sexuality was the primary reason for lack of support.

On the issues

Against: Death penalty, private prisons, electoral college, for-profit charter schools, Medicare for all, and tariffs used to pressure other countries.

For: increased federal minimum wage, teacher pay boost, restoring voter rights after prison, nuclear power, the taxation of carbon emissions and citizenship for Dreamers.

Now that you, hopefully, are feeling a bit more informed, go do more research. Visit his website, listen to his answers from the debates, and look up his history so you can ask him questions about what matters to you. He’s not very popular here, but he at least deserves to be heard.

With the Feb. 29 South Carolina Democratic primary creeping upon us, it is imperative that we remain informed and prepared to act for the chance to change the way our country is run.

These presidential candidates are vying relentlessly for our vote. Let’s make them work for it.

To RSVP for Buttigieg’s visit, go to www.angelarye.com/RSVP

The deadline to register to vote in order to vote in the primaries in South Carolina is Jan. 30.

Thalia Butts is a junior mass communications major from Atlanta.


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