Mayor Pete Buttigieg believes that Democrats will select their presidential nominee on the issues for 2020, not just the candidate’s identity politics.
“What’s really important right now is not just the diversity of the field, but the answers that we’re offering to the American people,” Buttigieg said. “That’s what the voters are going to make their decision based on.”
The South Bend mayor spoke with CBS News reporter Caitlin Huey-Burns, who asked him to react to the fact that the top four polling Democrat candidates in Iowa were all white, despite having a uniquely diverse field.
“Every candidate has to put our best message forward and a number of the candidates would represent some sort of historic first, obviously I would in one way, others would do it in different ways,” he said, alluding to the fact that he would be the first openly gay Democrat nominee for president.
Critics have complained that the more racially diverse South Carolina primary is the third contest in the race, while states that are more demographically white such as New Hampshire and Iowa go first.
He said however that it was “really healthy” that the early states were a combination of diverse states, including Nevada.
Buttigieg acknowledged that his crowds were mostly white, but said that they shared many of the issues that black Democrats had.
“A lot of the issues are the same,” he said. “The issues that I’m hearing from rural black voters in South Carolina worried about education and health care are not that different from the issues that I’m hearing from rural white voters and city dwellers in a place like Iowa.”
Buttigieg emphasized that he was able to “rhyme” his own experience as a gay man with people of different races and life experiences.
“When a Dreamer talks about wondering whether she’s ever going to fit in her community, it reminds me of some things in my story,” he said.
He added that even though he did not have kids, he was able to connect with people concerned about their kids.
“It rhymes with my concerns about the future,” he said.