Meet the Press host Chuck Todd on Sunday repeatedly pressed South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg on whether being openly gay is an obstacle for gaining support among African-American voters.
“I want to read you a quote from the Reverend Rodric Reid that the Indianapolis Star interviewed. He’s a pastor at the Uplift Church in Indianapolis,” Todd told Buttigieg.
“Here’s what he said. ‘I guarantee it’s going to be an obstacle.’ This is about the fact that you’re married to another man,” Todd inquired. “‘I guarantee it’s going to be an obstacle for the candidate from South Bend. That is really still a touchy subject, specifically and especially in the African American church. Now, I think it could be overcome, because we are gradually getting to a point of, and I don’t want to say ‘accept,’ but we are getting to a point of realizing this is the culture that we are going to have to begin to live with and adapt to it.’”
“I know you’re trying to have these conversations with a lot of African Americans,” Todd said, and asked “How are they going?”
“They’re going well, and we are working very hard to engage people across the party, but especially black voters, who expect you to demonstrate, especially when you’re new on the scene, what your values are and how you’re going to promote policies that lift them up,” Buttigieg said, adding that “I also think we have a moment on our hands when we can do the exact opposite of what the president has done.”
“The president has used identity as a wedge, used race as a wedge to divide people who have common interests,” he continued. “I think we have an opportunity to reach into our own distinctive identities and use them to build bridges, to reach out to people different from us, knowing that anybody who has been on the short end of an equation of exclusion has a way to sympathize with people who’ve had different experiences with exclusion in this country.”
“And if we build a solidarity around that, then people who have, for whatever reason, felt a lack of belonging or felt exclusion or felt discrimination in this country, even though those patterns of discrimination are very, very different, when all of us come together, we win, and we are all better off,” Buttigieg said.
“But I do want to follow up,” Todd said, then claied “I’ve talked to African American congressmen who really like you and want to support you, where their, their, some of their more conservative, religious-minded constituents, who vote straight ticket Democrat most of the time, would have trouble voting for you.”
“What do you say to those politicians in Washington who want to get behind your candidacy but are nervous about this?” Todd asked.
“I’d invite them to look at what happened in South Bend,” Mayor Pete answered, and noted that he won reelection overwhelmingly after he came out, in a state that also produced Mike Pence.
He added that “I have every confidence that American voters, especially Democratic voters, will not discriminate when the opportunity comes up to choose the right leader for the future.”
Watch Mayor Pete’s interview, below: