Democrat candidate for president Pete Buttigieg’s whiter than white image may play well with suburban moms and graduate students. But anybody who wants to capture the Democratic nomination needs significant support from minority voters, especially black voters who hold the key to winning Democrat primaries in the south on Super Tuesday.
ABC News reports that Buttigieg, in trying to get that support, has been overstating his degree of endorsements from black leaders and even black celebrities.
This has not sat well with those leaders and may backfire on the Buttigieg effort.
Case in point: Keegan-Michael Key.
Key is half of the hilarious comedy duo of Key & Peele. Although both are liberals, they skewer leftist sensibilities with cutting edge talent that is very appealing.
And they are no strangers to controversy.
This is an example.
How do you think the race hustling left felt about that sketch?
So Key shows up Saturday at a Nevada rally for Buttigieg. He says some great things about Pete, “He’s left me so inspired and empowered that I came down here to Nevada to see all of you,” the comic told the crowd, saying that Buttigieg “has actually inspired me, ladies and gentlemen.”
The Buttigieg campaign said that was an endorsement. But Key meant it as polite hyperbole, not an official endorsement. Thus the campaign climbed down hours later to state that the comedian had not officially endorsed the former South Bend mayor. Key then told reporters he only wanted to “encourage early voting and voter registration.”
ABC reports, “The campaign pointed out to ABC News, for instance, that Key’s choice of words introducing Buttigieg at a recent rally sounded very close to an endorsement.”
And that is true. What Pete, in all his albino glory, doesn’t get, and this is due to bad staff work, is that there is a consistent history of dramatic overstatement in African American political oratory. From Dr. King to Jesse Jackson, as many black leaders learned their vocal styles in the emotionally charged arena of black churches, their ringing eloquent cadences are meant to inspire and enliven. They are not necessarily meant to be taken as statements of precise intention or exact literal fact.
This would be apparent to any decent analyst or political historian. It somehow escaped the vanilla-flavored staff work of the Indianan hizzoner.
In this and other cases Buttigieg has gotten an inch and taken it as a mile from black leaders. In doing so he risks the very support he is desperately trying to garner.