“He has to get individuals within the African American community that people trust to advocate on his behalf.”
Legal Insurrection has documented South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s inability to draw in the black voters since he announced his presidential candidacy.
Buttigieg still has a problem with black voters. He held an event in a historically black neighborhood in Chicago, but white people made up the majority of the audience.
The event took place in Bronzeville, located on the south side of Chicago. The Chicago Tribune noted a long line of people for the rally, but one woman across the street had no idea Buttigieg came to town:
Many of the supporters held “Chicago for Pete” signs, and wore bright yellow and blue “Mayor Pete” and “Boot Edge Edge” T-shirts (the campaign’s way of helping with pronunciation of the candidate’s last name).
“Whoa, where are they all coming from? I’ve been in this neighborhood for 20 years, and I ain’t never seen nothing like that before, all these white folks lined up over there. Never,” Ruby Laster said, pointing at the line of supporters as she waited for the bus across King Drive. “All I know about him is he’s a young man from Indiana. He should get some credit for coming down here, but you got to let the people know what’s going on. He needs to get some flyers in the businesses around here. I didn’t hear anything about it.”
Cordaro Johnson, one of the few black attendees at the Buttigieg event, told The Chicago Tribune that the candidate “has an uphill battle to attract more African American voters.”
Buttigieg managed to change Johnson from an undecided voter to a Buttigieg supporter. Johnson said the majority of black voters have chosen former Vice President Joe Biden as rides “the wave of being Barack Obama’s vice president.”
Johnson suggested Buttigieg “needs to find a way to reach those people, people like me, that he has actual real issues and real solutions to the problems that they’re facing.”
Darnell Perkins said Buttigieg needs to hire black people on his staff in order to reach black voters.
Rev. Chris Harris pushed the crowd “to help diversify the support of Buttigieg’s campaign.” He told them they “can’t leave your black and brown friends at home.”
The latest CNN poll has him with 7% of the black vote, down from 11% in June. In South Carolina, a Monmouth University poll showed him sitting at 1% among black voters. That is not good news since “61% of the Democratic primary voters are black” in the state.
The Indianapolis Star interviewed people at the National Urban League conference:
Some like his ideas but think he’s not ready to take on President Donald Trump. Others think he’s not done enough to stand out in a large field of candidates, many with much broader experiences and proven records. Several indicated he has to do more to earn the trust of African Americans and Latinos.
“I think he has to get advocates,” said Carlos Clanton, an Urban League official and school board member in Norfolk, Virginia. “He has to get individuals within the African American community that people trust to advocate on his behalf.”
Sherry Allen, 57, an information technology specialist in Sacramento, California, found him funny, charismatic and impressive. But at this point, she plans to vote for Harris.
She said her family has had its own run-ins with police brutality in California. She was glad Buttigieg was upfront during his address in discussing his failure to make the South Bend Police Department more diverse.
She also liked what he had to say in the first Democratic debate, where he told the national audience he “couldn’t get it done.” Allen thinks he may have a role in the next president’s administration. And he may be a successful candidate — some day.
“He’s learning,” she said. “He’ll get a chance eventually, not this time, but he’ll get recognition and he’ll grow.”
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