“We’ve got to acknowledge — without giving an inch on the racism or xenophobia that played a role in that campaign — we’ve got to also pay attention to the things that make people susceptible to that message and make sure we’re addressing them,” said the mayor of
The rally was one of the biggest campaign events yet for a 2020 contender in the
In an interview with The Associated Press, Buttigieg said
“There’s a political style here that rhymes a lot with my home territory in
Asked whether Trump leaned on racial animus to win the
“By far the political movement that is most based on identity politics is Trumpism. It’s based on white guy identity politics. It uses race to divide the working and middle class,” he told the AP. “There are a lot of strategies to blame problems on people who look different or are of a different faith or even of a different sexuality or gender identity. … It’s a cynical political strategy that works in the short term but winds up weakening the whole country in the long term.”
Buttigieg has argued that he’s uniquely positioned to take on Trump because he can appeal to the white working class voters who left the
In the AP interview, Buttigieg said he plans to make sure that “our organization and our substance reflect our commitment to diversity.” He said he’ll do that by hiring a diverse staff and by addressing a range of policies that affect minorities, including but not limited to criminal justice reform, education, homeownership and entrepreneurship.
“I think any white candidate needs to show a level of consciousness around issues like white privilege,” he said. But when asked whether he had experienced white privilege, he said that “part of privilege is not being very conscious of it, right?”
He added: “You’re much more conscious when you’re at a disadvantage than … when you are on the beneficial side of a bias. But there’s no question that that’s a factor that has impacted people in many different ways. And we need to be as alive to it as possible.”
Buttigieg said that to be able to create a diverse coalition without alienating white working-class voters, issues of racial justice need to be discussed in a unifying way.
“I mean being pro-racial justice should not be skin off the back of any white voter,” he said. “I think there’s certainly an environment where sometimes these ideas are pitted against each other, where it’s suggested, for example, that connecting with white working-class voters somehow means that you have to walk away somehow from our commitment to racial justice — but our commitment to racial justice is part of the bedrock of the moral authority of the Democratic Party.”
The impact of his personal life on the campaign was on striking display at both of his
Buttigieg joked to the crowd, “Coffee after church gets a little rowdy sometimes,” then added: “We’re so dug-in, in such passionate ways, and I respect that, too. That gentleman believes that what he is doing is in line with the will of the creator. I’d do it differently. We ought to be able to do it differently.”
Asked by the AP how he would win over a protester like the one in
“There are a lot of positions, there’s a wide range, with fringes, in our politics. That’s part of how politics works, and you shouldn’t be in this if you aren’t prepared to deal with that,” he said.
The turnout at the
“It’s a very narrow window to capture momentum and energy and attention, and if you miss the opportunity to match your staff and energy with the moment, you can miss your chance,” Bagniewski said.