It isn’t a new tactic for Democratic politicians and now South Bend Mayor and Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is trying his hand at using religion to win votes. Before we get into the story covering Mayor Pete’s latest campaign efforts we should make this disclaimer: This story has nothing to do with religion or religious beliefs.
This story also has nothing to do with the sexual orientation of people or even Buttigieg either for that matter, but it does add a caveat to the story that can’t go unnoticed. What the story is about, however, is how Buttigieg is trying to gain ground among voters. In particular, black voters.
It almost defies logic, how this polarizing figure and rising star on the Democratic platform is doing so well in the race for the Democratic nomination. Now you are asking, if this young Democratic candidate is such a rising star and a polarizing figure, why would we be surprised that he continually polls near the top among the other Presidential hopefuls?
What makes Buttigieg’s polling numbers so impressive is that he is staying very competitive with the likes of front runners like Warren, Sanders, and Biden, while garnering historically low numbers when it comes to black voters. That is in almost zero percent historically low! In fact, it wouldn’t take much of a step forward (or any step forward really) among that voting segment for Buttigieg to become the man to beat. In theory, that would make him quite possibly the only legitimate threat the Democrats have to unseat President Trump.
The Mayor of South Bend is a smart guy. He polls well among the elderly, women, the young, and across most income brackets. He also has the distinct advantage of being one of the few Democratic candidates without any looming scandals or any ethically questionable behavior checkering his past. Being a smart guy, Buttigieg realizes this lacking or absent representation of black voters, and he has made some efforts correspondingly to address that problem.
Perhaps the young Mayor is too smart for his own good. The tactic Buttigieg is employing isn’t one we haven’t seen before. As our story reports, “Mayor Pete Buttigieg continues emphasizing that he is a Bible-believing Christian, attempting to earn the support of Democrats in South Carolina.” As our story also reminded us, “since he entered the race, Buttigieg has used social teachings in the Bible to shame Republicans and justify his positions on amnesty for illegal immigrants and abortion.”
No, it isn’t as if Buttigieg has shied away from using the Bible in his campaign, and he has at times referenced scripture throughout his candidacy. Now he is just turning up the volume and perhaps focusing more on connecting with the black community, through the Good Book, of course. Reporting on those efforts, our story said that “Buttigieg also spent two hours at a black church on Sunday with Pastor William Barber II, even carrying his own Bible to the service.” There were photo ops and everything.
This, though, might be where his smartness catches up with him. The fact is there has always been and there is today, a divide between the LGBTQ community and the church. What that means for our young candidate is a choice between two evils, so to speak.
Does he be careful not to lean too hard on the Bible, walking the line of peppering enough verses in here and there without proclaiming sainthood, and in doing so keep his current voting base happy? Or does he turn up the volume, get more photo ops and push harder for the black vote through religious channels, although doing so could put off a considerable base of his constituents.
If it is fire and brimstone and hell that Mayor Pete wants to preach, it could be hellfire he receives. Somewhere between preaching the Buttigieg plan and the Bible is where he’s been. Where he goes and where he ends up will most likely be determined by the voter’s perception of both.