My Buttigieg Theory

How is the mayor of a modest-sized Midwestern city doing as well as he has?

“Pete For America” is in the Public Domain, CC0

Let me caveat this post by stating upfront that I am hardly convinced, despite his strong showing in Iowa that Pete Buttigieg is Bernie Sanders’ main competition for the Democratic nomination. I have to admit that his finish in Iowa (whatever one wants to call it) and a possible second-place finish in New Hampshire is far better than I would have expected even a month ago.

Indeed, yesterday at FiveThirtyEight, Nathaniel Rakich had a piece headlined, Election Update: Buttigieg Is Rising In New Hampshire.

former South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg is now making it interesting. His numbers are rising in almost every successive poll of the state, and he’s now up to a 1 in 4 (25 percent) chance of winning there.

I have to admit that I have been surprised by Buttigieg’s significance to the contest to date. The mayor of a town of roughly 102,000 should not have gotten farther in this process than Kamela Harris and Corey Booker, for example. This is even more true for the gay mayor of a modest-sized city.

And to that point, Rakich concludes his piece as follows:

Just because Buttigieg has the momentum in New Hampshire, however, doesn’t mean his chances of winning the nomination have increased. Our overall primary forecast still gives Buttigieg only a 1 in 25 (4 percent) chance of winning a majority of pledged delegates. In a nutshell, proving you can (partially) win Iowa and (maybe) win New Hampshire doesn’t prove you can win more diverse states like Nevada and South Carolina — and Buttigieg is still underperforming with nonwhite voters, although we’d like to see more post-Iowa national polls to confirm this.

Without a doubt, the national polls suggest that this early success won’t last and South Carolina is going to tell us a lot about whether Biden really is fading.

Regardless, Mayor Pete has managed to stay in the top four. Why?

I am not an expert on public opinion, so I am getting a bit more pundit-y than usual to share something I have been thinking about for some time now regarding why I think Buttigieg has been more successful than anyone would have predicted.

First, I do think that there are two factions of significance within the Democratic nominating electorate. One is more left (and this space is contested, as we all well know, by Sanders and Warren) and one is more centrist (as represented by Biden, Buttigieg, Klobuchar, etc). I think one can quibble about exactly how well those labels fit and exactly how wide (or narrow) the ideological spread is, but I think these are fair categories for the sake of discussing the field.

Second, there is the ever-present, but amorphous “electability” variable. If there is one unifying element across the selectorate, it tends to be wanting a candidate who can beat Trump. Of course, this variable is linked to the first. Bernie supports, for example, think that the way to beat Trump is with a bold vision and a candidate who is a cantankerous, tireless, fighter. Meanwhile, a lot of Biden’s support has been predicated on the notion that he represents an old normal that voters would see as a comfortable alternative to Trump without been a scary socialist.

Into this mix, I would throw the following other factors: age and diversity.

So, how does all of this sum to Buttigieg’s advantage? He is a well-spoken, smart-sounding, gay, younger man, who is also a veteran and is perceived as moderate. He is also new to the national stage in ways that Bernie and Biden clearly aren’t, and that even Warren, Booker, Harris, et al. are not.

To unpack the list:

He Appeals to the Educated. His way of speaking appeals to a major constituency in the Democratic primary electorate: the college-educated (remember all the talk about how smart he sounded when he first hit the scene?) I remember hearing him for the first time in an interview and the college professor in me loved hearing a guy who was versed in political philosophy and who had a grasp on world affairs. And he is, in this way, a major contrast to the current POTUS. (See, for example, page three of this WBUR survey, where Pete does better than Biden among educated voters).

He’s not a Septuagenarian. There are real concerns that the field is too old. Note this write-up from June about a Pew survey on this topic: Only 3 percent of Democratic voters want a president in their 70s, survey finds.

The Pew survey, conducted early last month, found that 47 percent of Democratic voters say the best age for presidents is their 50s. If he were to win next year, Biden would be 78 upon taking office in 2021. Sanders would be 79.

The percentage of Democratic or likely Democratic voters who said the optimal age for a president is someone in their 70s: 3 percent.

Pete is on the extreme end of this, as he is in his 30s.

He’s Seen to be a Centrist. He is not pushing Medicare for All, nor is he calling for the end of private insurance. His demeanor is pretty staid. He is a veteran.

He’s a Dude. A lot of folks think that part of the reason that Hillary Clinton lost a narrow race to Trump was because of her gender and this sparks fears about 2020. A poll in September noted:

Thinking ahead to the 2020 general election, 58% said that it would be either much harder, moderately harder or slightly harder for a woman to win against Donald Trump as opposed to a male candidate. About a quarter, 24%, said it would be much harder.

Source: ABC News, Majority of voters ready for woman president, but don’t think everyone is: POLL

But, He’s Gay! While I think his homosexuality is an electability problem for some Democrats, I think for others he checks a diversity box while still being a white male.

All of this sums to why I think he has well outperformed the way most of us would have predicted. The field needs a perceived centrist who is white and male but who also isn’t in his 70s. And I think his homosexuality is helping him more than it is hurting him (at the moment) because it makes him a diversity candidate of a type.

I also think that sexism, coupled with fears that the country as a whole is sexist in the face of HRC’s loss, has made it very difficult for Klobuchar to gain ground in the “centrist” space and is also hurting Warren in the more leftward space.

Ultimately, I find it hard to believe that Buttigieg will be seen as sufficiently electable to win the nomination, but I think there is a clearer logic behind how he has managed to be as successful as he has been. South Carolina will be a major test (although more of Biden than of anything else). Pete’s poor numbers with African-Americans (a recent Fox News poll put him at 2% with African Americans in SC) would suggest that his moment towards the top of the leader board is going to be short-lived.

FILED UNDER: *FEATURED, Campaign 2020, Pete Buttigieg, US Politics
Steven L. Taylor
About Steven L. Taylor
Steven L. Taylor is Professor of Political Science and Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at Troy University. His main areas of expertise include parties, elections, and the institutional design of democracies. His most recent book is the co-authored A Different Democracy: American Government in a 31-Country Perspective. He earned his Ph.D. from the University of Texas and his BA from the University of California, Irvine. He has been blogging since 2003 (originally at the now defunct Poliblog). Follow Steven on Twitter

Comments

  1. Michael Reynolds says:

    He’s the thinking person’s candidate, which of course recalls the famous Adlai Stevenson exchange:

    A popular story is told about Adlai Stevenson (1900-1965) when he was running for president in 1952 (or in 1956). Someone heard Stevenson’s impressive speech and said, “Every thinking person in America will be voting for you.” Stevenson replied, “I’m afraid that won’t do—I need a majority.”

    Pete is smart in an era of stupid.

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  2. @Michael Reynolds: I think there is more to it than that, because Warren could claim some of that territory as well.

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  3. Gustopher says:

    Years of listening to NPR have trained me to want a Buttigieg.

    He’s a Midwest progressive that speaks to small town values and his faith, and I’ve been told for decades that this is what will appeal to Republicans and that if we only had Democrats like this, America would come together. Plus he’s gay, which is the best minority, the only minority that allows you to be a white man!

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  4. Stormy Dragon says:

    I think it’s becoming obvious that Joe Biden isn’t all there anymore and lacks the energy to really fight for the presidency even if he were. The problem is that this is coming after most of the other viable centrists already dropped out, leaving Buttgieg as one of the only remaining choices for Biden’s supporters.

    Unless Biden turns around things soon, his main contribution to the 2020 is going to end up being the torpedoing of people like Booker, Hickenlooper, etc. who would have been much better nominees, but couldn’t get traction because of Biden.

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  5. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Stormy Dragon:

    his main contribution to the 2020 is going to end up being the torpedoing of people

    Come to think of it, that was his main contribution in 2016 too. He spent so much time thinking about running that by the time he decided not to, the centrists had no choice but Hillary Clinton because she was the only option left.

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  6. Hal_10000 says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    He sounds smart in an era of stupid. He is smart, of course. But sounding smart in politics is more important than being smart. And it is often mistaken for being smart (see, e.g., Al Gore). When you actually listen to what Buttigieg says, rather than how he says it, there’s a lot of smart-sounding pablum to it.

    His non-answer on the question of why marijuana arrests went up while he was Mayor was a good example of how he can get off course when he’s challenged.

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  7. Sleeping Dog says:

    Things to keep in mind about NH, it is nothing if the population is middle class, even upper middle class, both parties have a libertarian streak through them, a high percentage of the population is college educated and works in STEM industries and the population is tolerant. Part of that is old line Yankee you tend to your business and I’ll tend to mind the rest is this is not a socially conservative state, the population is the least churched of any state.

    Pete being gay doesn’t matter, NH was the first state to approve marriage equality legislatively and when a few years later the Rethugs held a 2/3’s majority in each house they couldn’t get 45% of the HoR to vote for repeal.

    This is about the anti-Bernie voters, i.e. moderate voters coalescing around a candidate that can beat Bernie and could have a legitimate chance to beat Tiny or at least not take down the House with him. Folks have given up on (or never wanted) Biden, while Warren and Amy are suffering from some sexism.

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  8. de stijl says:

    I don’t have a theory.

    He seems like a decent person. Smart, capable, competent, level-headed. He speaks like 7 languages.

    Earlier this week I had to choose either Warren or Buttigieg. It was super hard. Rationally, Warren was probably the best choice as a candidate. I adore her.

    I literally made up my mind on the walk there. Go with your gut. Jump.

    I am not convinced by credentialism. I’ve never been elected mayor of South Bend. There is no job that prepares you for the immense burden of being President. There is no internship. Even being Vice-President cannot prepare you. That is an intense job.

    Vote for who you think will be best. Head, heart, gut.

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  9. Mark Griffith says:

    One thing you missed is he is a Veteran. But his attempt to reinvent Christianity is what bothers me the most. I wonder how that will play with Black and Minority voters? I think that with being Gay makes him a most unlikely nominee.

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  10. Mike says:

    Young. Fit guy who doesn’t seem to lecture. Doesn’t seem like typical swarmy male politician. Gay, who cares. Everyone knows someone gay ; not the issue it once was for vast majority of folks I know under 60. Military officer. Not corrupted by Washington. Not my top choice but can see the appeal. Seems like a genuinely nice guy to me.

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  11. Jay L Gischer says:

    It is my considered opinion that a lot of Trump’s electoral success is driven by right-wing panic over same-sex marriage. Nominating Mayor Pete would be to drive right into that. I can’t really say whether that’s a good idea or a bad one for myself, but I think there are plenty of people on the left who want a throwdown like that. It seems to me that they feel humiliated by Trump’s success and want to pass it on.

    Which is not a good place for us to be as a country.

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  12. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    You seem to be conflating “smart” with unintimidating and not willing to rock the boat.

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  13. DrDaveT says:

    Steven, since I’ve quibbled (or more) on several things you’ve posted recently, I thought I’d take a moment to say that I think you’ve pretty much nailed it here. I know that for me personally both the “non-septuagenarian” and “doesn’t jump immediately to the leftmost position available” are key. I would probably prefer Klobuchar, but for whatever reason she’s got all the traction of a cafeteria tray on sheet ice thus far.

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  14. @Mark Griffith:

    One thing you missed is he is a Veteran.

    I mentioned it–just not as its own bullet point.

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  15. @Mike:

    Gay, who cares.

    More people than you think. See Mark’s comment above yours.

    Indeed, I think a significant portion of Evangelical and Conservative Catholic support for Trump is at least partially about gay rights. The whole “religious liberty” thing is mostly code for not wanting to have to treat gays are fully equal citizens.

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  16. @DrDaveT: Thanks.

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  17. de stijl says:

    I knew the kids of an ex Vice President. One of the sons was my friend’s roomie during law school.

    I got to know him and his sis. He was a decent cat. We weren’t best buds, but hang out friends. Be at the same parties with the same people a dozen times.

    The weird bit was years later when the sister hooked up with a really close buddy of mine. They eventually got married. It was two entirely different social circles that overlapped. I’d known Chan since whenever, and when he and Eleanor got together it was very cool.

    I met the dad a few times. It was intimidating. Yeah, he’s just my friend’s dad, but he also used to be Vice President of the United States of America. That’s a big freaking deal! Your first urge is to want to call him Sir.

    The most in-depth conversation was probably “Thank you so much for having us over. You have a lovely home.” It was a spanking nice house overlooking the river, btw.

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  18. Kurtz says:

    @DrDaveT:

    If you had asked me to guess who you would like the most, I think I would have landed on Klobuchar.

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  19. Kurtz says:

    @Mark Griffith:

    reinvent Christianity

    Odd, considering that Christianity has been reinvented multiple times, including the splintering that occurred at its birth.

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  20. Kurtz says:

    @Steven L. Taylor:

    The whole “religious liberty” thing is mostly code for not wanting to have to treat gays are fully equal citizens.

    Yes.

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  21. DrDaveT says:

    @Kurtz:

    If you had asked me to guess who you would like the most, I think I would have landed on Klobuchar.

    Blame that WaPo quiz a week or two ago. I had paid her zero attention up until then, but she (and Yang!?) popped up as my best comps. So I went and read some of her website…

    I probably share Elizabeth Warren’s goals more than I do with any other candidate, but that’s not the same as thinking she’s the best candidate.

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  22. Teve says:

    But his attempt to reinvent Christianity is what bothers me the most.

    What makes Christianity successful is that it’s always been able to reinvent itself. Christianity meant kings, until it meant democracy. Christianity meant slavery, then it meant abolition. Christianity was anti-gay, and now that society has changed, in 50 years it’ll be hard to find a church in the US that is anti-gay.

    Religions that can’t reinvent themselves die.

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  23. Gustopher says:

    Buttigieg also has an amazing press game. Part of it is that he is NPR’s Composite Fantasy Candidate*, and part of it is Chasten and the dogs twitter feeds, but a large part is just really good, really hard work by him and his team.

    He also gives people (specifically mildly left-leaning reporters) faith that the meritocracy works. People who don’t want to always get bogged down on the structural reasons for poverty and the decline of the middle class can point to Mayor Pete and say “see? the system still works!” After all, if the white son of two college professors can get a Rhodes scholarship, then work for the top consulting company, and then decide to give back to his hometown and America by joining the military and becoming mayor, and then launch a surprisingly credible presidential campaign, then the American Dream Is Real!

    Never mind that you have to be the type of person who can learn 7 languages, and who is willing to hide their sexual orientation for decades. Those are just details;

    ——
    *: How many black folks listen to NPR? How much of Buttigieg’s failure to connect with black folks is an NPR problem?

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  24. de stijl says:

    How much does gayness affect Pete’s chances?

    I’m a bad person to ask. I was always okay, neutral, whatever about orientation since I was kid.

    I’m not cooler than you because I jumped on that bandwagon earlier than you, it’s just what I always thought since I was little. It just bugged me that not all people were given the same rights and privileges.

    In my mind Pete being gay is not relevant. I don’t need to know whether Elizabeth Warren is right handed or left. What color her eyes are. It is a personal detail which is irrelevant.

    Am I missing the zeitgeist? Is this a thing? Still?

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  25. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    Am I missing the zeitgeist?

    Yes.

    Watch this video of a DEMOCRATIC Iowa Caucus voter, who wants to pull back her vote for Pete upon learning he is gay, and has a same sex partner.

    https://www.nbcnews.com/feature/nbc-out/iowa-caucusgoer-pulls-buttigieg-vote-after-learning-he-s-gay-n1130696

    Again. This is a Democratic voter. Mad props to the Buttegeig campaign worker for not losing her cool.

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  26. Teve says:

    Yesterday morning in a McDonald’s on US 90 I saw a guy shouting at the gay manager “YOU BETTER GET RIGHT WITH THE LORD BEFORE THE TRUMPET CALL!” until they told him they were calling the police, and he kept shouting all the way out the door, so yeah it’s still a thing, among our stupider, shittier citizens.

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  27. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Stormy Dragon: I don’t see that at all about Biden. What–do people want him to somersault across the stage to the podium to show that he’s “in it”. All Trump had to say was Sleepy Joe and now every media story frames his every word and action from that vantage point. Tell me…what are the other candidates doing that Joe isn’t that shows they are “fighting” and he isn’t. I think the guy has made a calculation: that being President isn’t the be all end all culmination of this life. A temperament you’d hope any candidate taking the job would have.

    I think the guy is not going to be a circus monkey for a job he’s obviously qualified for. When he told the Ban Fracking guy to vote for someone else it pretty much announced that he’s running the race his way and you can take it or leave it.

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  28. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Hal_10000: When I hear him talk it feels Rubio-ish. Its PowerPoint deep. The first unorthodox thing Trump says or does and he’ll fumble the ball. The guy has talent but isn’t ready.

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  29. James Joyner says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    When he told the Ban Fracking guy to vote for someone else it pretty much announced that he’s running the race his way and you can take it or leave it.

    Which, honestly, is what I like most about Biden.

    Nobody has ever hired me to run a political campaign—or even so much as asked me for my advice. Regardless, it would be some variant of To thine own self be true.

    I think Bob Dole, John McCain, and Mitt Romney would almost certainly have lost their respective Presidential elections. They were up against better candidates (if nothing else, in terms of sheer charm and charisma) and the winds favored the Democrats in those races, anyway. But all ran as consultant-tested versions of themselves and were weaker for it.

    Dole wasn’t a Reaganite and shouldn’t have pretended to be. He was a grumpy, centrist, WWII guy. He should have just owned it.

    McCain absolutely shouldn’t have picked Sarah Palin. Go with your pal Lieberman and see what happens.

    Romney should have been the guy who saved the Salt Lake Olympics and instituted a the forerunner to ObamaCare.

    Again, they’d likely have lost anyway. But they’d have fewer regrets.

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  30. @de stijl:

    Am I missing the zeitgeist? Is this a thing? Still?

    I know @EddieInCA already answered: but, YES, this is still a thing.

    I fear it is enough of a thing to prevent him from being elected if he is nominated.

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  31. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    One person is an anecdote, not evidence.

    I saw that video days ago.

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  32. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @de stijl: I’m taking an anecdotal guess..but many in my world feel that civil rights took a step nose dive to gay rights as a priority for the Democratic party. That doesn’t go down well. Pete winning the nomination will confirm this to many of those people and will depress turnout. How much, who knows?

    Here is the rub. My theory of the case is that the true swing voters are black and Latino men. These are by and large blue collar workers for whom the economy is yielding more opportunities than it typically has and those opportunities are lasting longer…thanks to Trump juicing the economy. Trump being a racist isn’t a boogeyman to these men. Pete being gay….could be. If he has enough personal charisma he could make this group not think about his sexuality. But somehow, I don’t see Pete engaging in any activities that will resonate socially with this group. He’s not going to play pickup basketball, go to a batting cage, talk shit at a barbershop, laugh it up with a popular comedian etc.

    I had a gay soldier on my team while deployed…we all knew he was gay but he did everything we did…so the team looked at his as one of the team. You’d get an ass-whuppin if you messed with him. Maybe Pete can be that guy…I dont see him pulling it off. I heard him tell a story about hunting with his FIL and it came off awkward and forced.

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  33. Matt says:

    He is not pushing Medicare for All

    Actually he is.

    https://peteforamerica.com/policies/health-care/

    @Jim Brown 32:

    My theory of the case is that the true swing voters are black and Latino men.

    A theory lacking anything resembling evidence of it’s existence. There are not enough real swing voters to matter. What matters is energizing your base to turn out and vote.

    But somehow, I don’t see Pete engaging in any activities that will resonate socially with this group. He’s not going to play pickup basketball, go to a batting cage, talk shit at a barbershop, laugh it up with a popular comedian etc.

    I don’t see Biden doing that but Pete has done some with various musicians and at events. I only mention Biden because you’re seemingly in love with him as a candidate. Bernie tries but tends to be awkward in such scenarios.

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  34. @Matt: Well, no. Medicare for All Who Want It is basically a public option to work alongside private insurance. It is a clear differentiator with Warren and Sanders–and it is a more centrist policy proposal, to my point.

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  35. Stormy Dragon says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I don’t see that at all about Biden. What–do people want him to somersault across the stage to the podium to show that he’s “in it”.

    It’s not about physical energy, it’s about mental energy. It’s stuff like this:

    Joe Biden lays low ahead of crucial New Hampshire debate

    Amidst a week of hopscotching from Iowa to New Hampshire, former Vice President Joe Biden is taking some time off the trail, heading to Delaware to meet with advisers ahead of the eighth Democratic debate Friday, hosted by ABC News.

    While everyone else in the race was in New Hampshire trying to win, Biden was pulling an “Achilles in his tent” because he couldn’t deal with what happened in Iowa. How’s he going to react in the general when Trump supporters start calling him every name under the sun? Spend the last week before the election moping back in Delaware?

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  36. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    From Pew, nine months ago:

    https://www.pewforum.org/fact-sheet/changing-attitudes-on-gay-marriage/

    Support for same-sex marriage also has remained steady among whites, blacks and Hispanics over the past two years. Today, 62% of whites support same-sex marriage, as do 58% of Hispanics and 51% of blacks.

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  37. Matt says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I’m taking an anecdotal guess..but many in my world feel that civil rights took a step nose dive to gay rights as a priority for the Democratic party.

    Could you provide some sort of explanation or examples so I can understand what you’re talking about?

    @Steven L. Taylor: So basically the fact that he is pushing for medicare for all doesn’t matter because he like some of the other candidates isn’t intending to force it on everyone?

    @EddieInCA: Supporting and not caring are two different things. Hell tolerating is also a different thing.

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  38. de stijl says:

    Everyone knows a queer person. Your brother or sister. The guy in your pod who breathes too loud. Your mom.

    Why is this still a thing? It’s so stupid.

    I unintentionally offended a friend who came out to me by not reacting harder.

    Apparently, I said “That’s cool and not a problem” too quickly and too blithely. Dude, who you sleep with is entirely your business. He wanted to give a heartfelt plea for acceptance, and I’d already given it. It was awkward.

    Brad, I place that awkwardness on you. I know coming out way back when was hard, you expected resistance, but we’d known each other years, gone camping, hung out drinking beer until the sun peeked out. I don’t mind that you like guys. Be your true self.

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  39. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    I had a gay soldier on my team while deployed…we all knew he was gay but he did everything we did…so the team looked at his as one of the team. You’d get an ass-whuppin if you messed with him. Maybe Pete can be that guy…I dont see him pulling it off.

    Here is something I do not understand: He served in the military. The military has lots of brown folks of various shades. Why don’t we ever hear from the brown folks he served with?

    Are we here rules against it? Are they all somehow still on active duty? Were they all killed? Have I failed to notice that they are out there, talking him up?

    It seems weird.

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  40. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Support for same sex marriage isn’t the issue. At best, it is a proxy.

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  41. gVOR08 says:

    We often hear it’s bad to have Iowa and NH playing such a large role in the D nominating process as they’re so unlike the D electorate. I’ve thought you could make a case that it’s actually a good thing as the Ds are trying to pick someone who can win the general election, with an electorate more like IA and NH.

    But Iowa picked the gay guy and the old socialist, so what the hell do I know?

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  42. de stijl says:

    Awesome sunset tonight until fast moving stratus clouds moving in from the north obliterated it.

    Three distinct layers of clouds visible, all moving at cross purposes.

    It was glorious.

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  43. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    I’m not sure I understand your point.

    Is it your belief that someone against gay marriage will be willing to vote for a gay person for President?

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  44. Daniel Hill says:

    @EddieInCA: one can only hope that a woman so uninformed that she doesn’t realize Pete B is gay until after she’s voted for him is not typical of the electorate!

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  45. de stijl says:

    @gVOR08:

    My precinct went Pete by a fair amount. Warren was a decent second, Sanders was third.

    This is very white single family housing place. A well to do exurb within city limits.

    I moved here recently. I am more used to downtown’s and diverse neighbors. This neighborhood is very white. The caucus was extremely white.

    Spooky is too strong a word. Disconcerting? The overwhelming whiteness was a challenge to me. I am not used to that. It is a new reality.

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  46. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Of course. Those are two separate issues.
    Same sex marriage and queer acceptance are very distinct.

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  47. steve says:

    I dont think there is any secret here. He is the opposite of Trump in almost every way. Young, educated and well spoken, he isn’t a mean as$hole who insults everyone like Trump does. He doesn’t have much experience, but neither did Trump. That was seen as an asset by Republicans.

    Steve

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  48. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    A religious, conservative mom has a daughter who likes girls.

    She loves her daughter and accepts her for who she is.

    She is not on board for gay marriage.

    There is a distinction.

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  49. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    @EddieInCA:

    A religious, conservative mom has a daughter who likes girls.

    She loves her daughter and accepts her for who she is.

    She is not on board for gay marriage.

    There is a distinction.

    Would that mom vote for her daughter if she ran for a public office? Would she vote for any gay person for public office?

    Do you think that one voter in Iowa is alone in her beliefs? And she is a D, not an R.

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  50. Kurtz says:

    @Matt:

    @Steven L. Taylor: So basically the fact that he is pushing for medicare for all doesn’t matter because he like some of the other candidates isn’t intending to force it on everyone?

    No, they are distinct policies. MFA replaces the current system. A public option is exactly that–giving people the option of a government administered plan.

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  51. Jen says:

    I think the fact that he is/was? a new face cannot be overlooked as a factor. I honestly believe that Buttigieg got into this race to increase his name ID and build a support database for a later run. Evidence for this is that he didn’t really have any staff here (NH) when he started to take off, while Warren had already had a team on the ground for *months* by the time Pete started opening offices and hiring staff.

    The fact that he’s a red state Democrat and served in the military are big pluses for me. Jason Kander is another one who would have received my support, and I hope he has big plans for the future.

    Smart, and CALM. Anyone know if Russian is one of his languages? It’d be fun to know that Putin couldn’t get away with any translation shenanigans…

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  52. de stijl says:

    @EddieInCA:

    Not the question.

    Gay acceptance and support for marriage equality are sharply distinct.

    You place a lot of importance on that video. And that she is a self identified Democrat. One person. Is that even an argument?

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  53. An Interested Party says:

    But his attempt to reinvent Christianity is what bothers me the most.

    Exactly how has he done that?

    I’m taking an anecdotal guess..but many in my world feel that civil rights took a step nose dive to gay rights as a priority for the Democratic party.

    Why aren’t gay rights part of civil rights?

    These are by and large blue collar workers for whom the economy is yielding more opportunities than it typically has and those opportunities are lasting longer…thanks to Trump juicing the economy. Trump being a racist isn’t a boogeyman to these men. Pete being gay….could be. If he has enough personal charisma he could make this group not think about his sexuality.

    Let’s examine that for a moment, shall we? These men of color don’t mind that Trump is a racist because the economy is so great (and he allegedly has played a role in making that happen) but they absolutely do mind that Buttigieg is gay, no matter what he might be able to do for them as president, is that your argument? You’ll forgive me if I see something really fucked up in that argument…

    Gay acceptance and support for marriage equality are sharply distinct.

    Interesting bit of “logic” there…it’s ok that someone is gay but he better not ask for the same rights that straight people have…

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  54. Walt Thiessen says:

    You’re overlooking the most important factor of all, the one that most pundits overlook. He’s just plain likeable. People like him.

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  55. @Walt Thiessen: Sure, but that is nowhere near enough to overcome gay and no federal/national experience.

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  56. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @Matt: Seriously? You realize that Trump outperformed Romney and GWB with MOC….many of whom also voted Obama.

    @Matt:
    Sure, name me one major plank of the party that’s uniquely AA. Now name me one that’s uniquely LGTBQ… Remember when the Obama White House was lit up in rainbow colors? Many took that as a serious signal that the pecking order had changed.

    Now this may shock you, but I’ve been a southern black man all my life. And one with a unique social circle that crosses class and regional lines. Whenever I hear those factions discussing different topics from a similar reference point…it probably is a thing. How did we get SC challenges to marriage laws…but none for the Qualified immunity local police use to shoot people with impunity? Maybe there a good reason if you’re a lawyer…if you’re not though…it makes you say hmmmmmmm

    PS no one loves Biden. All the Democratic candidates are below Par. I’d like them to nominate someone that can beat Trump. IF one of them had a good chance…its Biden. The fact that the party has no talent on the bench should speak volumes to Leadership about its future prospects. What can I say…I like underdogs.

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  57. Jax says:

    @An Interested Party: I’ve actually run into that before and never quite understood the logic, either. Something about “marriage being between a man and a woman in the eyes of God”, yada yada yada. So they’re free to fornicate and “live in sin”….somewhat, but goddamn it, they gotta save one thing for the straights!

    Or that was my take on it, anyways. Their eyes glazed over the more questions I asked.

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  58. @Matt:

    the fact that he is pushing for medicare for all

    That’s the point. MFA is a different policy than what he is supporting.

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  59. EddieInCA says:
  60. Sleeping Dog says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    @Matt:

    In terms of the Dem nominating process AA and Hispanics are definitely the swing voters. At present neither group has a natural home in one of the candidate camps, both groups are more socially conservative than the typical white Dem. Both groups rallied around Biden as a known quantity, but Joe’s inability to generate enthusiasm has both groups looking around. Before the corn husker fiasco, there were a number of polls showing Biden slipping among AA in SC, w/Bernie and Warren being the beneficiaries.

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  61. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    You misread or I was unclear.

    Both marriage equality and acceptance are good worthy things.

    EddieInCA made an argument using marriage equlity poll results in response to statement I made about Pete and why anyone would care anymore.

    He made an argument saying here are poll results on marriage equality. My response was that marriage equality and acceptance are different and you cannot judge support for the second by poll results about the first. It was a dodge.

    They are distinct issues. As in not the same. So don’t use poll results on a different issue to undercut an argument on a different point.

    I dislike that you painted me the villain.

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  62. EddieInCA says:

    @de stijl:

    You place a lot of importance on that video. And that she is a self identified Democrat. One person. Is that even an argument?

    No. I’m placing alot of importance on spending the majority of the last decade in Texas, Georgia, Florida, and North Carolina. I live in Los Angeles, but work in mostly Red states.

    There are liberals in all 50 states, but they’re not the same. Many, if not most, are Moderates.

    African American women are the largest block of the Dem coalition. Historically, they tend to also be the most religious. This will be a problem for Pete, unfortunately.

    Lastly, I’m more interested in winning back the Senate than the White House, so I’m looking at the candidates that can help in that regards – just like 2018.

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  63. An Interested Party says:

    Sure, name me one major plank of the party that’s uniquely AA. Now name me one that’s uniquely LGTBQ… Remember when the Obama White House was lit up in rainbow colors? Many took that as a serious signal that the pecking order had changed.

    So it isn’t enough to want civil rights for all people, now we have to make sure there is the proper pecking order? No wonder we’re fucked up as a country…

    I dislike that you painted me the villain.

    That was not my intention, I was simply trying to understand the point you were making…as was suggested on another thread to another person, R-E-L-A-X…

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  64. de stijl says:

    @An Interested Party:

    You weren’t trying to understand shit. You wanted to score a goal.

    That’s cool. I get that urge. If you misread my point in doing so, I’ll call you on it, though.

    No one likes being decontextualized. Especially misconstrued to the opposite.

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  65. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: Sorry, I can’t blame any AA for not wanting Civil Rights conflated with Gay Rights. I push back on the conflation myself for the simple reason that whenever white peoples priorities and black people’s priorities get co-mingled…guess who’s going to get the short end of the stick and pushed to the back of the bus?

    What can I say? Being a racist is not the boogeyman for others it is for white liberals. Gay? That’s a boogeyman where I’m from. Dont get me wrong, you’ll catch a beatdown if you harass someone’s gay relative. But if you’re asking a southerner (and a non-white southerner at that) to identify with a tribe. The tribe leader being a married, open homosexual is going to be a tough ask. I suspect we can find cultural paradoxes in any demographic. This is one.

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  66. EddieInCA says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    But if you’re asking a southerner (and a non-white southerner at that) to identify with a tribe. The tribe leader being a married, open homosexual is going to be a tough ask.

    The same dynamic would take place in the South Side of Chicago, South Central Los Angeles, Overtown in Miami, Harlem, and the areas of any major city that has a predominantly African American population. They’re not there yet in large enough numbers.

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  67. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: I’m hoping this comes across nice but I want you to really feel my point of view: No…I dont give a flying effity eff about all people’s rights. This Country targeted ME, and people that looked like me for 400 hundred years. They did not target ALL people…they targeted SPECIFIC people with black/brown skin. Therefore, I do not think it selfish or illogical for me to expect remedy for the things specifically done to my ancestors that placed us at statistical disadvantages TODAY in every measure of Quality of life…compared with other groups the SAME government provided support to.

    So put yourself in the shoes of people systematically targeted and marginalized and tell me how excited you are that…while systemic problems still exists…the people that supposedly are for you now want to help ALL people. Shit…they barely got started helping us. My father drank from colored-only water fountains…this isn’t ancient history.

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  68. An Interested Party says:

    Sorry, I can’t blame any AA for not wanting Civil Rights conflated with Gay Rights. I push back on the conflation myself for the simple reason that whenever white peoples priorities and black people’s priorities get co-mingled…guess who’s going to get the short end of the stick and pushed to the back of the bus?

    So I guess rights for Asian-Americans or Hispanic Americans shouldn’t be conflated with civil rights as well…I mean, if blacks have to be pushed to the back of the bus when white gay people are involved, surely the same would apply when non-black minorities are involved…by the way, gay rights also apply to black gay people too…or maybe they should be worried more about their rights as black people than they should as gay people…

    @de stijl: Again, R-E-L-A-X…

    @EddieInCA: And the common factor for this homophobia? Religion…

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  69. An Interested Party says:

    No…I dont give a flying effity eff about all people’s rights.

    Using that logic, other oppressed minority groups really don’t need to worry about your rights, either…every minority for itself, I guess….

    My father drank from colored-only water fountains…this isn’t ancient history.

    And gay people get beaten up and killed simply because of their sexual orientation now…none of this is ancient history…no one in any minority group deserves to be mistreated simply because they are a minority…

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  70. DrDaveT says:

    @Teve:

    Yesterday morning in a McDonald’s on US 90 I saw a guy shouting at the gay manager “YOU BETTER GET RIGHT WITH THE LORD BEFORE THE TRUMPET CALL!”

    So who is selling all of these bibles that are missing the 7th chapter of Matthew and the 2nd chapter of Romans? A lot of Christians need to get their money back…

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  71. Jim Brown 32 says:

    @An Interested Party: Who said anything about deserving mistreatment? I’m not against anyone…but I’m not here to save the world when my block is suffering. I dont expect any marginalized group to ignore their own responsibilities in order to help the black community. That is the very definition of selfish not to mention irrational.

    No, I expect assistance from the same group that built the system to tear it down. That would be middle and upper class white people and I expect it to be done in a way that the groups most impacted by systemic -ism get relief as soon as possible. Pro Black does not mean Anti-anything else.

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  72. Kylopod says:

    @EddieInCA: This video (which I first saw last week) provides a counterpoint to two claims I frequently run across: (1) that the only homophobic voters in the populace are Republicans (2) or alternately, that the only homophobic Democrats are African American.

    Of course this is just one little anecdote, but I do think there are a lot more voters like this than most liberals will acknowledge. Remember, Kim Davis was elected as a Democrat. According to a recent Pew survey, 75% of Dems support same-sex marriage. But that leaves 25% who don’t. That’s not insignificant.

    Truthfully, though, what I find most fascinating about this incident is just the fact that she wasn’t aware of Pete’s sexual orientation. That to me speaks volumes about how little attention it’s actually received, despite the assumption that it’s at least part of the reason for his unlikely rise.

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  73. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    I think I’m a fair judge of verbal IQ. Buttigieg is quite intelligent, and he’s rational. He’s not promising trillions of dollars of programs he has no chance whatsoever of producing. I write fantasy but I live in reality where there are 100 Senators and it takes 60 to invoke cloture and we are not getting to 51 let alone 60 behind my grandfather yelling about billionaires and promising everyone free ponies.

    We don’t have the numbers for a broad advance and it is not good generalship to imagine that esprit de corps will drive our enemies before us. Bernie’s agenda will be dead ten seconds after he’s sworn in. Warren’s, too. Biden is burned out. So if we’re hoping to actually accomplish anything, we have Buttigieg, Klobuchar and Bloomberg as possibles.

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  74. de stijl says:
  75. Teve says:

    @DrDaveT: dude shouted for a few minutes about how “MY FEET WILL LEAVE THE GROUND WHEN I HEAR THAT TRUMPET SOUND” etc. And he’s not the only religious nut I’ve seen at that particular McDonald’s.

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  76. de stijl says:

    @de stijl:

    Cool! I did a Jim Brown 32 without even trying.

    It’s all red and bold! Fits the tone and intent. I have no idea how I did that. I didn’t apply any http text formatting. There were no formatting instances to close; I didn’t open any. I just typed and hit post comment.

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  77. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Jim Brown 32:
    African-Americans are 13% of the population and not a growing percentage but one about as much in relative decline as the white population, both groups having similar below-replacement level fertility. There is not a single state and few districts where blacks can wield power without being part of a coalition. The political reality is that Blacks need Hispanics more than the reverse – they are the growing minority.

    Black voters have power only in coalition with liberal whites and Hispanics. But one of the conditions of that coalition is that it also cares about the gay minority. Liberal white support for African-Americans is of a piece with their support for gay rights. This is indivisible. If black voters want to choose electoral suicide, they have that right, but a black man who thinks he’s better off with Republicans is as much of a fucking idiot as some white coal miner who thinks a crooked real estate developer from New York is his friend.

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  78. de stijl says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Btw, I’m not implying that random red and bold text is your only contribution when I said “I did a Jim Brown 32” earlier. That was not my intent and I apologize if that read wrong.

    Folks are getting weird tonight. I want to speak clear.

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  79. Gustopher says:

    @Jim Brown 32:

    Sorry, I can’t blame any AA for not wanting Civil Rights conflated with Gay Rights. I push back on the conflation myself for the simple reason that whenever white peoples priorities and black people’s priorities get co-mingled…guess who’s going to get the short end of the stick and pushed to the back of the bus?

    Well, you’re really not going to like hearing about women then, are you? The big movement right now is to move women from “technically, legally equal” to “a whole lot closer to equal”. Requiring employers to publish diversity stats and income discrepancies, which makes it easier to sue for discrimination, which motivates corporations to try to ensure equality. And the notion of what is or isn’t a hostile workplace has radically changed.

    LGBTetc are a sideshow compared to that. As the B in LGBTetc, I’m used to being entirely marginalized.

    I would also say that efforts to move women closer to equality do affect black folks, and not just in a “lots of black folks are women” sort of way — it’s putting in the structures to make it possible to move closer to equality, and it’s getting white men used to thinking of outside their group as equals at work.

    To paraphrase Ronald Reagan, a rising tide lifts all boats, which is really good for all those folks in boats, as it gets them closer to the white men that are standing on the pier.

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  80. de stijl says:

    I have no problem with Klobuchar. Not my top choice. Would vote her if she were the nominee, no problem.

    Chucking detritus at an underling is not cool. If true, I hope she is better at anger management now and has committed to professional behavior going forward.

    She is the daughter of Jim Klobuchar who was a columnist for the Strib for decades.

    I voted for her when she ran for Hennepin County Attorney (equivalent to District Attorney). Hennepin County is Minneapolis, Ramsey County is St. Paul.

    She is a decent politician. She did really well last debate.

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  81. Mister Bluster says:

    Moderator:
    At 16:26 in this thread Gustopher asks: How many black folks listen to NPR?
    I have found an item at NPR website that has information that may be relevant to this inquiry.
    A passage in the article states: “Source for all the broadcast data is 2017 The Nielsen Company. May not be quoted or reproduced without the prior written permission of Nielsen.”
    Does this mean I should not provide a link to this NPR page?
    GB

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  82. Michael Cain says:

    It hasn’t been that long since Colorado was a solidly red state. In 2018, our openly gay governor, with a partner and two adopted kids, won the open seat by a bit over 10 percentage points.

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  83. Kylopod says:

    @Gustopher: Whenever I listen to discussions like this, I keep thinking back to a Wanda Sykes routine about being a gay black woman in America, which really brings out the fact that there’s a certain underlying absurdity to the way liberal diversity issues get conflated with one another when they’re really apples-to-oranges comparisons. Race and gender and sexual orientation aren’t the same; they are to a large degree entirely different issues, each with their own unique components. Granted, they end up at similar places, but it’s easy to get caught up in the attempts to shoehorn them all into one frame, and I can see how that might alienate some who aren’t entirely on board yet.

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  84. Monala says:

    @Teve: I always find it interesting that the Bible says far more about taking care of the poor and needy, and welcoming strangers and aliens, than it does about homosexuality. Yet somehow Mayor Pete is “reinventing Christianity,” but Republicans who demonize poor people and immigrants are not.

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  85. de stijl says:

    Organized Christian sects are stymied by gay rights.

    They either have to admit they made up shit to suppress and shun it for centuries out of whole cloth, or contradict Jesus.

    I have no use for religion in my life, you may. This is an issue that must be adressed. Adapt or die. No young person can abide your tenets if it means denying their friends and family. Active membership is already cratering.

    These people see Lady Gaga as a heroine. Born This Way vs. homosexuality (and other queerness) is a sin. Diametrically opposed. Neither *has* to give, but if religion doesn’t it is essentially dead. If you call me or my friend’s sinners for being truthful to ourselves, fuck off.

    Dead in one generation, boom. We raised our young ones right. They do not abide institutional disrespect.

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  86. An Interested Party says:

    Organized Christian sects are stymied by gay rights.

    It’s the same thing as in the past when religion was used to justify racism (curse of Ham)…and yes, being black isn’t exactly the same thing as being gay which isn’t exactly the same thing as being a woman, but ultimately, it’s all about people who are treated as second-class citizens simply because they have some difference(s) from the dominant group…civil rights are either for everyone or they are for no one…

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  87. Teve says:

    @Monala: living according to Jesus’s teachings would be hard and uncomfortable. Living like the pharisees and the money changers is much easier. Jesus rides the donkey, the moneychangers get Cadillacs.

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  88. Robert says:

    @Gustopher: Pete was a military officer and his social and work environment would have been whiter than if he were an enlisted soldier. My dad is an African American officer and when we lived on base in officer housing there was diversity but the majority of our neighbors were white. The workplace environment of a military officer is very professional and black and white officers must work together to honor the mission of the US military. Outside of work, social circles of these officers are still somewhat segregated. I grew up in this environment and do not think Pete is weird because he doesn’t seem to have black friends. I think intellectual technocratic responses on race are not what many woke people want to hear in today’s environment.

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  89. Robert says:

    @Jim Brown 32: Yes black and brown people have been systematically targeted throughout our country’s history but many other people have experienced some level of discrimination and can truly empathize with us. I cannot look past the discrimination that Jews, Latinx, Muslims and LBGQ have experienced and have no problem allying myself with them in the fight against racism. I guess as a black gay guy, I am expected to put the one of those on the back burner. I cannot do that.

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  90. KM says:

    @Kylopod:

    Race and gender and sexual orientation aren’t the same; they are to a large degree entirely different issues, each with their own unique components.

    Of course they aren’t the same – no group’s issues are exactly the same as another’s or they’d be part of the same group. However, listing out every single group you are pro for is time-consuming as hell so it’s easier to be “for civil rights” and mean “I want to improve everyone’s circumstances”. Linguistic shorthand sacrifices specificity.

    I think @Jim Brown 32 got singled out for using the term “civil rights” to mean “AA rights”. Much like the use of the word “community”, there’s a specific connotation for AAs that most of America doesn’t have and can easily misunderstand. There’s a powerful history and sense of ownership that doesn’t translate well culturally, especially to well-meaning folks who want to help several different groups and see this as baffling intransigence. It can come across as “I’ve got mine, take trying to take it” when it’s more along the lines of “find your own voice, this term is taken”.

    Liberals also have an extreme nativity that just because there’s several oppressed groups under their banner that those groups get along. There’s this idea that since you know what it’s like to be treated terribly by society, you won’t do it to other groups and it’s absolutely not true. History has shown time and time again just because one group gets a social reprieve doesn’t make them supernaturally loving and accepting of all groups- they’re still human with all that implies. Don’t be surprised that religious AA’s may not be cool with SSM because they can be just as fundie as their white neighbors. Don’t be surprised to see racial tensions between Asian-Americans and AAs over economic issues and street-level concerns. Don’t be surprised by a feminist or LBGTAQ+ individual hating on trans folks or not giving a damn about racial issues. People are still people, regardless of their social grouping.

    A rising tide may lift all boats but not everyone wants their neighbors along for the ride for fear of swamping their own ship. This is something liberals need to start taking seriously and addressing as a group. We’re not trying to leave anyone behind and if someone is getting that impression, then it’s on the Democratic party to reassure them we’re not sacrificing one group for another’s benefit.

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  91. Michael Reynolds says:

    @KM:
    Unfortunately the Left is riven by factions, the inevitable result of simple-minded identity politics. We unite around ideas, we are driven apart by the obsession with identity. Identity politics helps the white majority. Full stop.

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  92. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    I’m not defending the manner in which the left sometimes executes identity politics. But all politics, at least in the US, are identity politics.

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  93. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    Identity politics is ridiculous. We draw brackets around sets of people, never taking five seconds to consider why we’re choosing this or that bracket. Why race? Why gender? Why not hair color? Why not nostril width? Is your defining characteristic who you sleep with? Is it the amount of melanin in your skin?

    What use is a set of, say, Asian people? That’s not a concept that means anything in Asia because they know that Chinese is not Japanese is not Korean. But let’s narrow it down: the set of all Chinese people tells you what, exactly? What can you extrapolate about an individual from his ‘membership’ in a quarter of the human race?

    I’m in the set of Jews. Do I give a wet fart about the Jewish religion? No. I’m Jewish because my mother’s parents were Jewish. Except they weren’t, they were atheists, like me, and my Jewish mother was a Christian. My great grandparents were Jewish largely because Cossacks used to chase them. So my great grandparents had beef with Cossacks a century ago, therefore I’m a ‘member.’ It’s junk data. It means nothing. It’s reductionist nonsense.

    My youngest is Han Chinese. And? She left China at age 3 1/2, and people still prattle on about how we have to honor her culture. Her culture is shopping and tattoos. She knows fuck-all about China, and has zero interest. She’s lumped into a set that means absolutely nothing to her and reveals nothing about her except that she’s been labeled.

    How about the set we label ‘female’? What does that tell you about any individual within that set? It tells you they’re female. The label is the alpha and the omega of useful information. Ditto male. Idi Amin and Mahatma Gandhi and I are all in the set of ‘males.’ Which tells you, what? Again, the label is the total data.

    Are all gays the same? Do they all have the same ideas, attitudes, skills, talents, flaws? The best evidence suggests sexual preference is a number line not a series of discrete sets. If a gay man sleeps with a straight woman one time is he a traitor to his set? Is he no longer gay? How about a straight guy who fucks a gay guy is he gay, or did the gay guy get some contact heterosexuality?

    How about African-Americans? You know, people who have never been to Africa and like most Americans can’t name four African countries? What if we broke them down by specific tribes? Then what useful knowledge have we gained? Oh, he’s 64% Xhosa, 20% Zulu and 16% Dutch. OK. And?

    Ideas unite because idea matter. Randomly defined sets tell us nothing except that someone wanted to define a set. Who was it who defined that set? Why? Black people are black people regardless of skin shade or origin only because racialists defined them that way. WTF do a black lawyer in San Francisco, a black motel maid in Biloxi and a black trombonist in New York have that makes them a set? The same culture? No, they were defined by people who wanted to keep them as slaves.

    We are defined and defining along irrational lines, creating sets that tell us nothing but that someone had some spare brackets and decided to use them, more often than not for nefarious purposes. We are homo sapiens, that’s the only set that matters. Everything beyond that is tendentious bullshit.

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  94. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    That is a non-answer to the point that I was making.

    Regardless of that, arguing that broad categories don’t objectively exist is fine–it’s probably true. Variation within categories is much richer than variation between categories.

    But arguing that categories don’t exist subjectively is lunacy. They do currently.

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  95. Robert Sharperson says:

    @KM: Very well said.

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  96. Kurtz says:

    @Robert:

    This was one of the points made by intersectionality scholars. That looking at oppression of various groups as separate undermines the movement to eliminate arbitrary hierarchies.

    This is yet another example of why I push back so hard against liberals oriented toward the center. The Reynolds post about identity is built upon a straw that is pushed by the right. So it doesn’t capture the arguments made on the left.

    Intersectionality is a buzzy word the right likes to attack these days, but they never explain the actual argument or analysis behind it other than in dismissive or false terms. Most of the time, it is willful misinterpretation that goes unchecked, because it is a concept introduced in courses most people don’t take. That’s why I bitch about people like Ben Shapiro, he either a.) knows better and is misleading intentionally, b.) slept through his undergrad classes at UCLA, c.) is intellectually incurious, and/or d.) not as intelligent as his reputation.

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  97. Michael Reynolds says:

    @Kurtz:
    They exist subjectively because they are taught. We are accepting racialist and other identity-based world views which it is not to our advantage to accept. We’ve endorsed a language that helps oppressors and encourages schism within groups that should be in coalition along ideological lines and lines of self-interest.

    You cannot accept the idea of identity politics and somehow exclude the 60% of the country that is white. Do we want ‘white identity’? groups? No? On what rational grounds? Do we want ‘straight identity’ groups? Why not? How do we justify opposing one identity group while endorsing the same reductionist, exclusionary language for other groups?

    There’s a war raging between trans folk and trans-excluding radical feminists, a battle fought along lines that are irrelevant to outcomes. As we see upstream there’s tension between black and gay groups to the detriment of both. There are tensions between the L the G the B the T and the Q. Why? How does that help? Who gives a shit who fucks who when it comes time to figure out health care, or defense, or environmental regs?

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  98. Kurtz says:

    @KM:

    This is quite true. But the solution is to understand that you can only approximate the feelings of others even those within your own group.

    I didn’t push back on Jim because his feelings on the issue are invalid, rather I see his solution–take the white liberal vote for granted–as counter-productive for the whole movement.

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  99. An Interested Party says:

    Don’t be surprised that religious AA’s may not be cool with SSM because they can be just as fundie as their white neighbors.

    Oh the irony…people who had their religion used to justify treating them like shit in the past now want to use that same religion to treat others like shit now…

    People are still people, regardless of their social grouping.

    Indeed…and you would hope that people who have been oppressed themselves would be able to understand and empathize with others who are oppressed…alas…

    Who gives a shit who fucks who when it comes time to figure out health care, or defense, or environmental regs?

    Evangelicals, many conservatives, and many Republicans, among other people…ultimately, differences shouldn’t matter, but they do…when members of minority groups have the same rights as the majority, then we can talk about not giving a shit about differences, but until that day comes, minorities will have to fight for rights that they should have but which are being denied to them…

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  100. Kurtz says:

    @Michael Reynolds:

    Your reply is still nonresponsive to my post. Politics on the right are implicitly identity based. A wall is the physical manifestation of identity politics. Arguing for a particular, narrow conception of American values that is one of many possible derivations of the natural rights acknowledged by the founding documents is identity politics.

    American exceptionalism in geopolitics? Identity is the basis, even when other Western allies are concerned–America as the purest distillation of Western culture.

    Current ideas of religious liberty? “Christian” as an all-encompassing identity rather than a description of beliefs; national identity rooted in “Judeo-Christian” values.

    Conservatism as an identity rather than a set of policy preferences; liberalism as an other that threatens to weaken foundational aspects of American values.

    All politics are fundamentally identity politics.

    Even without that, your argument is still in error.

    I refer you to the recent discussion of “virtue signalling.” My long post in that thread traces the origin of the phrase, what it means, and most importantly why it is critical the center-left ought not use it. Really, no one should, but it is worse when putative left does, because it justifies the straw used by the right.

    I concede that categories are taught. But that is the fatal flaw in your argument, because they are culturally produced truths that cannot be wished away. They aren’t instituted by government policy–they are embedded in cultural institutions.

    Your mistake is not fully tracing the ideas you use to lay a foundation for your argument.

    Divorcing the rejection of categories from the complementary description of how those categories are “taught”–embedded in language and socioeconomic institutions–concedes the policy basis for reaching a societal point where those categories are no longer acknowledged.

    Dismantling Jim Crow laws was the correct thing to do, but segregation persisted via non-governmental means. You, by railing against identity politics, fail to recognize how power is deployed in a free society.

    The right is solely obsessed with governmental overreach as a threat to liberty. By validating their weightless interpretation of the leftist rejection of objective categories, you undermine the basis for collective action aimed at systemic change while justifying leaving intact the institutions that actually give those categories their power in the first place.

    The useful insights from postmodern philosophy are descriptive. There is no roadmap for effectual resistance. Mere rejection of categories is a complete failure in terms of politics, and worse, concedes ground by allowing the right to claim that if race doesn’t exist, policies should not acknowledge it.

    Any other category you can name–sex, orientation, gender–gets used by the right selectively and then discarded at will. It seems consistent, because people like you affirm their incomplete interpretation of the leftist position.

    You’re smarter than this or you’re not who you think you are in terms of politics.

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  101. de stijl says:

    This a very interesting and thoughtful community.

    And a lot of good, interesting writers!

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  102. @Kurtz:

    Mere rejection of categories is a complete failure in terms of politics, and worse, concedes ground by allowing the right to claim that if race doesn’t exist, policies should not acknowledge it.

    This is worth emphasizing. While one may want a colorblind society, the reality is all that does is further deepen existing inequities that centuries of racism have created.

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