Buttigieg and the Intersectional Blues

While “Mayor Pete” rises in the polls in Iowa and New Hampshire, it is a delight to watch the media tiptoe around his very weak pull with black voters. The New York Times today ran a story headlined, “Pete Buttigieg is Struggling with Black Voters. Here’s Why.” Except the story never really tells you probably the biggest reason why: American blacks are highly hostile to homosexuality. This fact goes completely unmentioned anywhere in the Times story, no doubt because it would blow all the fuses at the Times‘s intersectionality switchboard.

The Times does report something Henry Olsen noted in our podcast last week:

No Democrat in modern times has won the party’s nomination without claiming majorities of black voters, the most crucial voting bloc in South Carolina and in an array of delegate-rich Southern states. . . Mr. Buttigieg has so few black elected officials and former elected officials backing him that they could all fit into a single S.U.V.

Keep in mind that black voters in California voted the most heavily of all ethnic groups against same-sex marriage in the 2008 referendum on the issue. (A majority of whites and Asians voted in favor of gay marriage: Prop. 8 failed owing to hispanic and black voters.)

Other media outlets are not as chary as the Times, but still tread as lightly as possible. Politico notes briefly:

And last month, the current iteration of the question of readiness became front-page news when a leaked memo revealed focus groups commissioned by the Buttigieg campaign suggested his sexuality could be “a barrier” for black voters in at least South Carolina, the crucial fourth nominating contest—and a bellwether for the party’s more socially conservative voters.

Likewise Yahoo News:

Interviews conducted in July with a sample of black Democratic voters in North Carolina found some were uncomfortable with Buttigieg’s sexual orientation, according to a campaign team memo leaked to the media.

This is more of an acknowledgment than the Times, but you can tell the reporters and/or their editors really don’t want to be very clear or emphatic about this fact.


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