Pete Buttigieg Takes The Lead In Bellwether Iowa Poll
More good news for Mayor Pete.
For the second time in a week, a new poll out of Iowa shows South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg surging in the Hawkeye State to the point where he is now leading the Democratic field in the first electoral test of the primary season:
There is a new Democratic front-runner in Iowa, and his name is Pete Buttigieg.
The mayor of South Bend, Indiana, holds a clear lead in the first-in-the-nation caucus state, climbing to 25% in a new CNN/Des Moines Register/Mediacom poll of likely Iowa caucusgoers. That marks a 16-point increase in support for Buttigieg since the September CNN/DMR poll. This survey comes on the heels of other recent polls that have shown Buttigieg joining the top tier of the Democratic primary race in Iowa.
Behind Buttigieg, there is a close three-way battle for second with Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren at 16%, and former Vice President Joe Biden and Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders each at 15%. Since September, Warren dropped six percentage points and Biden slipped five points, while Sanders gained four points.
Surveying the rest of the field, no other candidate gets double-digit support. Minnesota Sen. Amy Klobuchar lands at 6%, while five candidates register 3% — Sens. Cory Booker of New Jersey and Kamala Harris of California, Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, investor Tom Steyer and businessman Andrew Yang. Former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, who has yet to officially announce a 2020 bid, gets 2%. The rest of the field receives 1% or less.
Buttigieg’s significant rise comes in the wake of a heavy investment of time and money in Iowa. Over the last few months he has built one of the largest on-the-ground operations in the state, supplemented by a robust advertising campaign and strong public appearances, including a speech at the Democratic Party’s biggest event of the year earlier this month in Des Moines.
His elevated standing in Iowa is grounded in steady support across different demographic groups. He does roughly as well with self-identified Democrats as he does with independents. He also performs about the same with previous caucusgoers as first-timers. And his support is nearly even in cities, suburbs, towns and rural areas.
More from The Des Moines Register:
Pete Buttigieg has rocketed to the top of the latest Des Moines Register/CNN/Mediacom Iowa Poll in the latest reshuffling of the top tier of 2020 Democratic presidential candidates.
Since September, Buttigieg has risen 16 percentage points among Iowa’s likely Democratic caucusgoers, with 25% now saying he is their first choice for president. For the first time in the Register’s Iowa Poll, he bests rivals Joe Biden, Bernie Sanders and Elizabeth Warren, who are now clustered in competition for second place and about 10 percentage points behind the South Bend, Indiana, mayor.
Warren, a U.S. senator from Massachusetts, led the September Iowa Poll, when 22% said she was their first choice. In this poll, her support slips to 16%. Former Vice President Biden, who led the Register’s first three Iowa Polls of the 2020 caucus cycle, has continued to slide, falling 5 percentage points to 15%. Sanders, a U.S. senator from Vermont, also garners 15% — a 4 percentage point rise.
Those four candidates began to pull away from the crowded field of Democrats and separate into a top tier of contenders in June’s Iowa Poll. Biden, Warren and now Buttigieg have all taken turns atop the poll, with Sanders consistently in the top four
This latest poll underscores that separation. The group’s next-closest competitor, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar of Minnesota, trails well behind, at 6%.
“This is the first poll that shows Buttigieg as a stand-alone front-runner,” said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co., which conducted the poll.
“There have been four candidates that have sort of jostled around in a pack together, but he has a sizable lead over the nearest contender — 9 points. So this is a new status for him.”
At 3% are U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey, U.S. Rep. Tulsi Gabbard of Hawaii, U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris of California, billionaire businessman Tom Steyer and entrepreneur Andrew Yang.
Former New York City mayor and billionaire Michael Bloomberg, who moved toward a late entry into the presidential primaries last week, is at 2%.
U.S. Sen. Michael Bennet of Colorado follows at 1%. Montana Gov. Steve Bullock, former housing secretary Julián Castro and former U.S. Rep. Joe Sestak of Pennsylvania round to 0%.
Former U.S. Rep. John Delaney of Maryland and author Marianne Williamson were not named as a first choice by any poll respondents.
More respondents — 30% now, compared with 20% in September — say they have a first choice and their minds are made up. That still leaves ample opportunity for more surges and slides in the two-and-a-half months before the caucuses: 62% say they have a first choice but could still be persuaded, 1% are unsure and 7% have not made a first choice. In September, 16% of caucusgoers said they had not made a first choice.
This poll from The Des Moines Register is considered the bellwether poll in the Hawkeye State, so the fact that it is showing the same Buttigieg surge that we’ve seen elsewhere is most certainly significant. As noted, it shows that Mayor Pete has gained sixteen points from the last such poll just two months ago, which suggests that the time he’s been spending on the ground there has been beyond off. By contrast, the same polling also shows that Kamala Harris, who has been virtually living in Iowa since September, has seen her numbers in the state go from 6% in that September poll to 3% now. That’s not a good sign for a campaign that is essentially relying on a good performance in the Hawkeye State to resurrect her campaign. Another notable number from the poll comes for Minnesota Senator Amy Klobuchar, who went from 3% in the last Register poll to 6% now. Her numbers bear watching in the coming months.
The RealClearPolitics average for Iowa, meanwhile shows the following:
- Pete Buttigieg — 21.0%
- Elizabeth Warren — 19.0%
- Joe Biden — 16.5%
- Bernie Sanders — 16.0%
- Amy Klobuchar — 5.0%
- Kamala Harris —- 3.3%
- Andrew Yang — 3.0%
- Tom Stever — 2.8%
- Tulsi Gabbard — 2.5%
- Cory Booker — 2.0%
- Mike Bloomberg — 1,0%
- All other candidates under 1%
You can also see Buttigieg’s rise in the RealClearPolitics average, where Buttigieg is represented by the purple line:
This is the third poll inside of roughly two weeks to show Buttigieg with the lead in Iowa, and the fourth to show him in the top three in either first or second place. It also matches similar numbers from New Hampshire that show Mayor Pete among the four candidates polling double digits in the Granite State. Despite this, Buttigieg continues to underperform in both Nevada and South Carolina, largely due to the fact that he has yet to connect with minority voters in any significant respect. However, the fact that he now surging in the first state to vote in 2020 could mean that he’ll start getting a second look elsewhere. In any case, the numbers are falling into place for Buttigieg, and they are doing so at just the right time. Whether he’ll be able to capitalize on them remains to be seen.
This is what I’ve been looking for. As a boomer (age 65), I don’t want us in control anymore. I’ve been really cool on Biden, Warren, Sanders based on blatant agism. As a soulless technocrat, I prefer rational, analytically based policies. We’ll see going forward what happens. Regardless, I will not be voting for Trump. Under any circumstances. As the old saying goes, I’ll vote for the yellow dog first.
Anyone who thinks Buttigeig can win an electoral college victory over Trump is delusional. That’s just not the world we live in…. yet.
Sure, Buttigieg, why not? I like him well enough — not as much as I did when he first got a huge media bubble, but well enough.
Poking that the other polling on RCP… If you look at the national polling, Warren is beginning to slide. She might have peaked, or she might have just stumbled a little and will get back on a growth path.
@EddieInCA: I could make a case for why every possible nominee is unelectable.
Biden: too old, too uninspiring.
Warren: too liberal, no penis
Sanders: too Sanders.
Buttigieg: too gay.
Harris: no penis, too California
Everyone else: No one has ever heard of them
Every one of our candidates has something that they will have to work past. I think they do it by being inspiring, and just showing that it’s not a problem.
I still wish George Clooney would enter the race. People love George Clooney.
@EddieInCA: I remember someone saying something like that about some Democrat who was running against some guy named McSomething a while back. I just can’t remember the details anymore. Someone’s last name started with an “O” or something… very fuzzy…
@Just nutha ignint cracker:
This was my thought too. In the last 20 years the “electable” Democrat has lost every time. The only one able to win (twice) is the guy who the country “wasn’t ready for yet”.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: Back during the 2008 primaries I was talking to an online buddy of mine and I said I wanted Obama to win the nomination because I felt he was a stronger candidate than Hillary, and that Hillary stood a good chance of tanking the race for the Dems. My buddy replied that Hillary “knows how to knife-fight” better than Obama.
The next president will have a lot of work to do to rebuild government after the damage the current administration is inflicting. I have nothing against Mayor Pete, but I question whether he has the experience necessary to do the job. Following any other president? Sure. Following this one? Hmm.
@Kari Q: Replace Pete with Obama and your post would easily fit in with other posts in 2008. Good ol 2008 when Bush Jr was the worst president ever and Hillary was the safe choice because she had experience and is a fighter.
@Gustopher: What also gets me is the way these pronouncements always make it sound so deterministic and inevitable. I’ve run across several people who told me a woman “could not beat” Trump (just as Eddie here assures us a gay person “cannot beat Trump”), and they point to 2016 as proof.
There are several problems with it, among them that one election does not constitute a pattern, or justify a broad generalization about all women candidates. But it is also inaccurate to suggest that Hillary “could not beat” Trump. Hillary did not beat Trump–but she came incredibly close, where very little had to change to produce a different outcome. Take away the Comey Letter, she wins. Get just a few more Democrats to take the possibility of a Trump victory seriously enough to get off their butts and vote, she wins. And while I agree there was a misogynistic component to many of the attacks on her, a lot of Dems seem unwilling to admit that she had weaknesses that could not be explained purely by misogyny. Not every woman candidate is Hillary Clinton, and not every woman candidate will become as toxically unpopular as she became that year.
What 2016 demonstrated was that Trump was an extremely vulnerable and beatable candidate, and very nearly lost to the least popular Democratic nominee in modern history, while actually getting millions fewer votes nationally. Yet some Dems have made Trump out to be some kind of electoral behemoth who will squash almost anyone who gets in his way, and that anyone from an underprivileged group (a woman, an African American, a gay person) will inevitably lose to him, so we have to nominate a straight white male, or we’re doomed. This is absurd cowardice, a way of perpetuating the country’s prejudices by preemptively surrendering to them. Our country would never have progressed had everyone taken this attitude.
The funny thing is, it’s easy to devise an alternate history where we’d be saying it about totally different groups. Back in the mid-2000s I was having a conversation with one of my grandparents’ caregivers who was from St. Lucia, and we both agreed that there’d be a woman president before there was a black president. A lot of people forget how impossible and unlikely the idea of a black president seemed before Obama came along. In contrast, it seemed perfectly natural that our country would soon elect a woman; so many other countries have, for decades. If Obama had lost the 2008 election (imagine he had been running in a year where Bush hadn’t totally tanked the economy and the country), I’m sure there would be numerous people pointing to the outcome as proof that a black candidate didn’t stand a chance, and that if only we’d nominated Hillary….
@Kylopod: I think I remember that conversation. I’m mostly sure I wasn’t the one who said that, since early on I was an Edwards supporter, but I might have been. Obama was a lot better at politics than my first take on him suggested.
AND, he was a bit dissatisfying in that he frequently negotiated himself to the center, rather than letting Republicans pull him to the center because they were afraid. The whole austerity focus was a problem for the country.
For the Horde!
@Jay Loren Gischer: I don’t think it’s the same conversation. The one I had took place on Myspace, with someone I knew from a message board about movies.
Obama did have a habit of trying to build consensus by negotiating toward the center, but I don’t think Hillary was any better on that front. I also think Obama learned his lesson (contrast how he handled the 2011 budget showdown with how he handled it two years later), something I cannot say about Joe Biden.
@Kylopod: I’m pretty sure Biden is trying to position himself as a return to normalcy, so campaigning on “we will fight them on the beaches, in the streets and in the cornfields!” (or whatever) would be going off brand. A lot of America wants someone who can reach across the aisle, even if we know it won’t work.
I think he’s lying, and just pandering to people who aren’t you and I. He’s not stupid enough to not see the change. He may offer a hand across the aisle, but I don’t think he will be surprised to have it rebuffed.
This does not inspire me, granted, but I don’t think he’s as out of touch as he sounds to people who follow politics as closely as we do.
The one thing I feel really confident about with Buttigieg is that YES, he is inexperienced…..but there is no doubt in my mind that he has the brains and intelligence to grow into the job, just like Obama did.
Plus I want to see the evangelical freakout when Chasten picks out the White House china and buys new curtains. 😉
It’s already a pleasure to see Buttigieg call out hypocrisy against evangelicals who support Trump…
@Jax: And, like Obama, he’ll listen to others because he isn’t an insecure, overgrown toddler like Trump who thinks he already knows “more than the generals.”
I thought 2008 was too soon for Obama, and while I love the guy I think he would have been a better president with a little more experience before he took office.
But, as bad as W was, he was not actively undermining the government. He did not cause a mass exodus of experienced civil servants. He handed over the government with the infrastructure intact and career professionals who knew how the government was supposed to work in place.
I’m not saying he can’t possible be a good president, or that people shouldn’t support him. But handwaving away the question of experience is not wise. Experience is more important this election than it was 2008, or really any previous election. We’ve never had an amateur president who was determined to undermine the government before. Recovering will take work, and I want to hear him address that question, not just say “I’ve got more experience in government than the president.” Yeah, but how will you rebuild the government he’s undermined?
Buttigieg is polling at 4% nationwide among African Americans. If Dems want to put up a candidate that will get 10% of black voters and think they can win, they’re delusional.
C’mon. Those of you who downvoted me, your problems aren’t with me. They’re with math.
Buttigieg is lagging with the actual base of the Democratic Party. But, hey, no matter. He will just get all those disaffected Trump voters and that will put him over the top – never mind that had Hillary been able to bring out African American voters in Milwaukee, Detroit, and Philly, she’d be president.
But, hey, he’s young, charismatic, smart, and telegenic.
I don’t see how that follows. If experience is so important to ability to govern, then it would be more important during the Great Recession, or when fighting a war, or when confronting any real crisis. The really big crisis we’re facing presently is that we’ve got a terrible president. But in this case, the crisis has a pretty simple solution: replace him with a president who’s competent. Sure this new president will have a lot of cleaning up to do, but I don’t see why it would require more experience than usual.
In any case, citing Trump as proof of the importance of experience isn’t convincing. Trump isn’t a good test case, because his problem isn’t his lack of experience, but that he’s a moron. If he’d come to the presidency with some real credentials under his belt–say, a couple of terms as governor of NY–I would fully expect him to be just as big a disaster as he is now. He’s been in the job for nearly three years and based on all the available evidence has learned absolutely nothing. There really is no better preparation for the presidency than actually being president, and if that hasn’t helped him, the idea that his previously being a governor or Senator would have is simply not believable.
When you look through the history of presidents, there does not seem to be any correlation between a president’s level of experience and how well they do at the job. Some of our best presidents have had relatively little experience, and some of our worst had a lot of it. Lincoln had no more than two years in the House of Representatives, and he’d been out of office for over a decade by the time he became president. Whenever I’ve brought up this argument here, Doug’s response is that Obama is “no Lincoln.” That’s simply not an answer. Either experience matters or it doesn’t. Lincoln didn’t succeed because he was some boy prodigy who happened to be gifted with the skills others had to work for; he succeeded for the same reason other successful presidents did–because he had the requisite character, intelligence, and judgment for the situation at hand.
I wouldn’t even dismiss the possibility that a businessperson with no political experience could succeed at the office, as long as they took the job seriously and took the time to learn what they had to do. At the very least, it’s an open question. I’m not clamoring for such a candidate, I’ve never bought the hype surrounding businessman-candidates, and I certainly recognize that running a business doesn’t prepare a person for running the government. But I don’t think it precludes success in the presidency either. The presidency is not a job like doctor that requires some specialized training that if you don’t have, that means you’re a quack who has no idea what they’re doing. Trump isn’t proof of anything on this front, because he is what he’s always been and always will be, a two-bit conman with money and no real skills.
Any Democrat who wins the nomination will get at minimum about 90% of the AA vote in the general election. A candidate’s strength among specific groups in the primaries is not necessarily evidence of how well they’ll do with that group in the general election. In a large field, different groups will prefer different candidates, but after the primaries are over there will be a consolidation of these votes within the party; there always is. You mentioned the lax turnout from AAs in 2016. But in primaries, AA voters were her big strength, and the main thing that helped her defeat Sanders. Throughout 2007, she was actually doing better among AA voters than Obama. These numbers are not static.
P.S. For the record, I’m not one of the people who downvoted you. I rarely use the downvote button, and when I do, I reserve it for outright racists or blatantly disruptive spammers (such as Cris Ericson recently). I don’t use it as a way of saying “I disagree with you.”
The recession was a relatively straight forward problem with a known response: stimulus and lots of it.
Rebuilding government following an amateur politician who tried but failed, also a straight forward problem with a straight forward answer: put professionals in charge of the career beaurocrats who stuck around waiting for the next administration.
What we face is different: an administration that has driven out the non-partisan career professionals. The question isn’t a matter of who is at the top, it’s rebuilding competence from the ground floor. How do you do that? More to the point, how will he do that?
Again, you’re hand waving it away. I would like to hear answers to the question, not just comparisons to Obama or the current incompetent administration.
(The quote about Trump was from Mayor Pete, himself, btw).
Speaking of Obama, he dealt with the question of experience by selecting Joe Biden as VP. Obviously it’s way too soon to even think about Pete choosing a VP, but if he was to surround himself with highly experienced advisors, that would go far to answer the questions.
In what way is Biden, Warren, or Sanders any better equipped to handle that problem than Buttigieg? Last I knew, filling up a government with non-partisan career professionals isn’t something you learn to do as Senator or even Vice President. I suppose you can make an argument that Biden would be best equipped for that task because he’s the only one who’s been directly a part of a presidential administration, but that still seems an excessively narrow focus for the ability to run the next government competently.
Mostly as a political move. There’s not much evidence that Biden was instrumental in Obama’s success as president. He opposed the mission that took down Osama Bin Laden, for example. The argument I hear most often from people who believe Obama was hampered by his inexperience was his “naively” reaching out to the other side (in other words, doing what literally every previous president in history did). If only we’d had someone with more political experience, this wouldn’t have happened. You know, someone like Joe Biden, the guy still arguing to this day that after Trump’s gone the Republicans will suddenly become all friendly and bipartisan-y again.
From what I’ve seen, “experience” arguments are a pure Rorschach test. If you believe experience matters, then you’ll attribute whatever failings you see in an inexperienced president to his or her inexperience, even if it’s the sort of mistake that experienced presidents make all the time. When Obama did it, it’s because he was a naive rookie who wasn’t prepared for the rough-and-tumble of Washington. When Biden does it, it’s because he’s old and stuck in a different era. None of this is proof of anything, it’s just interpreting the facts according to whatever beliefs and prejudices you had at the start.
@Kylopod: The only potential problem with Buttigeig on the “experience” issue is that mayors generally don’t come pre-equipped with the sorts of associates or whatever that one instantly sees to be skilled policy operatives that can assist at managing policy.
On the other hand, Dubya’s associates were Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bolton, Wolfowitz and so on. Suffice it to say, there are no guarantees that anyone will bring competent people to the job and there may be no way to tell ahead of time whose associates will be a good match to the situation.
Biden was far from a political stunt. He played an active and vital role throughout Obama’s administration on issues ranging from passing and implementing the stimulus to leading foreign policy initiatives. He was a strong figure in Obama’s administration.
That doesn’t mean I support Biden, understand, I’m just using this as an example of one way to deal with the question. Pete’s responses so far haven’t impressed me. You saying experience is irrelevant impresses me not at all.
Warren faces different issues. Her responses are sometimes uneven, but she doesn’t usually just dismiss them. That is encouraging. I’d like to see Pete responding seriously instead of just comparing himself to Trump or Pence. If he became the nominee, those comments would be enough, but they aren’t sufficient right now.
The question isn’t whether blacks will start voting for Trump, but whether they will bother to stand in line at deliberately understaffed polling places for hours to vote for Buttigieg. And will they then get back in line and vote again*.
Lower Black turnout would be bad for the Democratic candidate.
I don’t think his primary support levels are all that indicative of that, but what are Buttigieg’s favorables vs. unfavorables within the various black communities?
I don’t worry about that though. I don’t see Buttigieg getting the nomination if he doesn’t start getting black support in the primaries, which would mean that at least some are supporting him, and likely that others will be open to him.
I do wonder where the black folks he served with in the army are. I would expect at least a few of them to be Mayor Pete supporters, and be helping him break the ice with other black folks, translating what he says into Jive** or whatever.
Even Trump has Diamond and Silk.
Anyway, it’s a problem that solves itself. He won’t get the nomination without significantly increasing his black support. Best of luck to him in turning that corner.
*: I just thought I would toss that in for our Republican friends.
**: “Airplane!” reference, for any youngsters out there. Oh, god, Mayor Pete probably doesn’t know “Airplane!”
Show me another political discussion board where conversations like the above happen. 😀
There are hours of video on youtube of Pete explaining his positions/policies. You could also visit his official website for details. You’re sounding a lot like the trumpsters who argued that hillary had no policies to speak of. Despite there being interviews galore and the exact information requested on her web site….
So what would you like to know?
I can start with his “black problem” https://www.rollingstone.com/politics/politics-features/mayor-pete-buttigieg-race-racism-trump-866966/
@EddieInCA: There are issues with any candidate as cited a number of times.
Buttigieg is polling low with a significant portion of the base–the AA community. I’d note that he’s also the only major candidate who is actively (meaning currently) dealing with community policing issues, rather than sitting on a high perch in DC pontificating about these problems. That could be part of his problem, or, it could be that he’s gay and not connecting with the AA religious community. Or both.
The AA community is solidly behind Joe Biden, who is not doing well with any other portion of the Democratic must-have base. Almost every Democratic voter I’ve talked to is in a “meh, FINE, if he’s the nominee…” type response. I have not met one person here in NH who is “YES, Joe!” This is a problem for enthusiasm and GOTV efforts. It’s the same issue Clinton had, only with a different demographic.
How do we reconcile this? Who, exactly, are we expecting to “come around”? Don’t even get me started on Sander’s supporters–you want to talk about locked-in to their candidate and no other, look at his followers.
This isn’t going to be an easy problem to solve, but it’s made far harder by the notion that everyone thinks they are right. Your argument is that Buttigieg won’t win without AA turnout, and you are correct. But Biden won’t win without women and young people. Warren won’t win without convincing moderate Dem and Independent males and working-class white women.
Each of these candidates has *significant* work to do. Singling Buttigieg out as being the only one who is unelectable because he’s having trouble with part of the base is not applying the same analytical rigor to the other major candidates.
By the way did anybody notice when, several days ago, Warren modified her proposals to ‘public option immediately, medicare-for-all fight starting in year 3’?
She’s going to be our first woman president. Donald Trump will have the ignominy of being one of our worst Presidents, bookended by two of the best.
Pfft, I want to see the freakout when Pete invites religious leaders over and have to decide what to do with their invite.
Do they do the dramatic “We can’t endorse such sin!!!”? They risk getting left out of any religious liberty discussions because Pete’s the Dem that’s most likely to be favorable to that kind of thing. Also, losing that kind of power to a more progressive branch of Christianity will burn their britches as well as their wallets.
Do they reluctantly accept and try (and fail) to not embarrass the new POTUS and First Gentleman on the WH lawn? Bye-bye invites and power for 4 years. Pete’s not shy about his faith so they’d have to explain why an explicitly Christian POTUS really isn’t because he’s not *their* variety. B-roll of the First Family attending church would be balanced against evangelicals raving about how goddless having gays in the WH would be. They’d lose the next generation even faster then before with such blatant hypocrisy and those are voters they can’t afford to lose.
@Kylopod: In what way is Biden, Warren, or Sanders any better equipped to handle that problem than Buttigieg? Last I knew, filling up a government with non-partisan career professionals isn’t something you learn to do as Senator or even Vice President.
I suppose, for Warren, the fact she was a government appointee selected mainly on her education, background and activity in a certain sector, and the facts that she is an egghead who likes brainy people, would cause me to believe she’d appoint experts and not lickspittles.
@Just nutha ignint cracker: Someone’s last name started with an “O” or something… very fuzzy…
Think he was Irish, an O’Bama from Moneygall, Ireland.
@Kylopod: Hillary did not beat Trump–but she came incredibly close, where very little had to change to produce a different outcome.
That’s a characteristic of winner take all elections: They exaggerate very small differences.
While we strongly disagreed with George W. Bush on many issues, and his policies were often disastrous, the fact is that millions of people voted for him, while millions more voted for Gore. That’s why it’s critical, especially for a president, to make an attempt to reach out to everyone, and not just represent their supporters. Not only does it minimize dangerous polarization, but it tends to lead to better decisions. Of note, Bush’s worst decisions were made by disregarding contrary voices.
I have not found that there is a correlation between experienced presidents and presidencies considered successful.
US Grant – won the Civil War, managed armies, and was a good and decent man whose presidency was not a success. OTOH, Lincoln’s only government experience was two years in the House. Lincoln had the far more difficult situation to manage and did it without significant executive experience.
Then again, we have Trump with no experience, a corrupt fuckwit about to be impeached, and Obama, a US Senator, who ran a scandal-free and successful administration. On still another hand, George HW Bush was about as experienced as a candidate can be and ran an administration seen as mediocre at best.
Most presidents have had government backgrounds but some experienced presidents like Franklin Roosevelt were excellent presidents, others like James Buchanan or Woodrow Wilson were disasters. Some have significant military experience, but Eisenhower was a much better president than Zachary Taylor or the aforementioned US Grant.
I look for character, intelligence, flexibility, discipline and integrity. Buttigieg seems to have those attributes. Electability is a different question, but I think there’s a better than even chance that Mayor Pete would do well in the office.
There’s a picture of a whole lot of white kids (and one Indian(?) kid) who are very committed to building a more inclusive future for all. And Chasten is the more social media savvy Buttigieg.
Sometimes you go somewhere and it’s almost all white kids, sure. Tweet out the photo. They’re good kids, they seem happy, it’s cute, go for it. Maybe don’t use that photo to mention inclusion though.
I don’t know what motivates black folks any more than the next guy, but I suspect setting yourself up for mockery on the whiteness of your campaign and its supporters isn’t it.
@Gustopher: Buttigieg appeared here in NH a while back, in the town that is home to a fairly exclusive prep school but which also has a very substantial full scholarship program for lower income students.
Because it draws students from all over the country and has the full scholarship program, its student body is significantly more diverse than your standard NH high school. A bunch of kids from the student Democrat club were invited to be up onstage. The accusation that time was that the campaign was selectively pandering by putting students of color on the stage.
You can’t win these contests, ever.
I’ll venture a guess: health care, wages, job security and educational opportunities. Plus they’d like racist assholes to stop being racist assholes and not to be gunned down by cops. Subject to correction of course, but I suspect I’m pretty close to right.
I was going to let this go and just agree to disagree, but then I looked back at my previous comment and realized it could be interpreted to suggest I think Biden was an ineffectual, do-nothing vp. Far from it! I think he was an excellent vp who was heavily involved in the administration’s achievements. What I was disputing was the notion that Obama was some babe in the woods who couldn’t have survived in the job without a seasoned hand like Biden at his side. It certainly wasn’t like Dick Cheney (who was effectively co-president to Dubya much of the time) or the Trump Admin (which seems to function a lot like Joffrey from Game of Thrones—a boy king who on the one hand is a monstrous psychopath who terrorizes his people, and on the other is a sniveling brat with no idea how to run the kingdom, causing that task to fall on the people surrounding him, among whom there’s a constant power struggle behind the scenes). Obama gave Biden an expansive role (not unlike Al Gore’s), but there was never any question who was in charge or who was making the decisions.
@Michael Reynolds: Basically all the candidates are in favor of that, and only Biden has significant black support — so, I think you’re missing something.
Also, I’d add respect to that list, not that Buttigieg or the others don’t have/offer it. People make decisions based on feelings as much as logic, and not being a racist asshole isn’t enough.
Bernie and Harris also have little black support, so it’s a little unfair that Buttigieg gets singled out on this. Warren’s support among blacks has been rising — not that fast, but fast enough that I think she could pull the coalition together if she wins the nomination.
I don’t quite see what that missing thing is — but like dark matter in astrophysics we can see the outlines where something is going on.
@Gustopher: Adding to what you said about respect, a lot of folks on black Twitter really do find the manner of some of the attention given to Buttigieg to be somewhat offensive. There is a lot of gushing about his intellect and achievements, as though it’s somehow unique among the very intelligent, very well-educated Democratic candidates. For instance, did you know that Buttigieg has two BA’s (yes, he got a BA at Oxford, whereas Booker got an MA there, and later a JD from Yale), compared to most of his rivals who have graduate degrees?
This is true, but I wonder how things like his recent statement on marijuana will play out. Arrests for pot possession disproportionately affect communities of color, and black men in particular. I get that he was Obama’s VP, but this seems like a strange position to take (on the pot legalization issue). I can’t decide if Biden doesn’t realize how pot arrests affect the black community, or if he is taking his support from them for granted, or if he felt he needed to grab at a law-and-order crowd? It’s like the other thread on the caucus system where Biden said that they aren’t representative *to an Iowa reporter*. I can’t tell if these are gaffs or playing to a different audience than I think, etc. It’s, uh, certainly plain-spoken without thought to negative consequences, so there’s that…maybe?
@Monala: And yet, largely overlooked is one of the reasons that Buttigieg joined the military: because he saw the disparities between who was serving (and who wasn’t) in an all-volunteer military. Not just racial disparities, but economic ones.
So most of his opponents have graduate degrees*. How many others have served in the military?
* And on those graduate degrees, what was the cost of getting a graduate degree when those opponents went? This is one thing that he certainly can speak to: how much debt you have to rack up now to get a grad degree.
@Jen: I do give him his props for the military service. But can’t you see how offensive it is to act like a young white man from a privileged background is uniquely intelligent and accomplished, when his female and POC opponents are equally intelligent and accomplished, and often had more to overcome to get there? Can you understand why that rubs many people the wrong way?
Here’s a thread that goes into this: https://twitter.com/riotwomennn/status/1196468195785420800
Nixon was a navy officer, House member, Senator, then Veep. That’s an A+ for experience. So What.
Absolutely right on the experience thing. I’d argue experience is important in roles which require specific technical knowledge: I want my airline pilot to be experienced. I want my surgeon to be experienced.
For a strategic, high-level role like president, where you’ve got a Cabinet and advisors and an administration to support you (if you don’t pack this with yes men and women) your values, a moral compass, intelligence, empathy (and to a lesser extent some low political cunning) are more important. I’d argue it’s only really the low political cunning that develops the longer you spend as an elected politician, the rest you either have or you don’t, whether you’re a 78-year old decades long veteran of the Senate and former Veep, or a 39-year old two term small city mayor.
Or if he’s just old, it isn’t a policy that matters to him, and he hasn’t really thought about it in 20 years…
This may be an “educate Uncle Joe” moment.
And, if he can be educated, good for him. I’d like a candidate who can look at his positions and reassess. If he cannot be educated… less good, but I’ll still vote for him if he gets the nomination.
@Monala: Who is acting like Buttigieg is the only one with those accomplishments? I know I’m not. I go to pains to point out what a great field this is. I’d happily vote for a number of them. Buttigieg is my first choice not because he is uniquely intelligent (he’s not), or uniquely accomplished (he’s not), but because I really feel like he has the right temperament and vision for the country.
I’m starting to feel like this is a weird circle: people are mad that Buttigieg is getting attention and cite things like “you’re treating him like he’s the only smart one out there!” when really the reason his supporters even go down that list of accomplishments is to counter the “he’s too young!” line.
@Monala: For whatever it’s worth, I think one reason that Buttigieg might be getting attention is simply that he isn’t an already-known quantity.
VP Biden: around politics for decades
Sen. Sanders: Same as above
Sen. Warren: Hasn’t been around as long, but in the news
Sen. Harris: Key part of the Kavanaugh hearings, in the news
Sen. Klobuchar, Sen. Booker, Castro, etc.–note, all of them have been around for a while.
@Jen: That may be true of you, but it’s the type of thing I’ve heard far too much of. Moreover, Buttigieg has shown some of the tone-deafness of Joe Biden when it comes to race. Here’s another Twitter thread, about his recent visit to New Orleans: https://twitter.com/Chas10Buttigieg/status/1196142077442220032
As some on the thread commented, if he wants to improve his outreach to black voters, he has to do a lot better than speaking to an all-white (save for one Asian kid) group of students in predominantly black New Orleans. There are two HBCUs in New Orleans, a black mayor, a black Congressperson, and black voters recently took the Democratic governor over the top to win re-election.
Or, to point to his South Carolina outreach, when he claimed 400 endorsements from black leaders, when more than 40% of the names were white leaders, and the “endorsements” were people who didn’t “opt out” of an email list (so most of the endorsees were surprised to find their names on the list).
@Jen: That’s true, and part of why Obama and Palin got so much attention in 2008.
@Monala: Buttigieg definitely has a lot of work to do, and missteps like his husband tweeting out that picture with that caption definitely is not helpful.
I think Buttigieg could well win Iowa, Warren win New Hampshire, and Biden win South Carolina. It’d be a mess for the nominating process, but it’s the process we have.
Mayor Pete is at 0% among African Americans in SC. Zero. Nil. Nada.
@EddieInCA: And yet, Biden just hung the AA community out to dry on the pot legalization issue.
I can’t explain it.
I’d like to know if there’s *anything* Buttigieg could do that would earn the AA community’s trust. I tend to think of him as having solid potential for a future run, but he’s being dismissed by a big constituency for reasons that are beyond his control (“he’s getting more attention that those who’ve paid their dues!” is ridiculous, because it assumes campaigning is a meritocracy. It isn’t. It’s a strange combination of timing and effort and intangibles like charisma.)
What could he do? I’m asking because I find this…vehemence against him strange.
Every court needs its jester(s)…unfortunately, this particular court has an overabundance of such people, including, of course, the head of this court…
I’ve noticed that as well…as impressive as Buttigieg’s CV is, it’s not like others in the race don’t also have impressive credentials…at the same time, I also see Jen’s point…his credentials have to be singled out considering his age and lack of national exposure…
This is from the NY Post. Admittedly, not a fan of Biden. How is this hanging out the AA community to dry?
I think state by state is the way to go. I agree that we don’t need to legalize it Federally yet. Let the states handle it until it becomes defacto legal in all 50. Why waste political capital on a position that’s going your way regardless?
You’re very, very smart. You prove that here daily. I don’t think you find it strange. I think you don’t want to admit what it is, because it goes against everything YOU stand for and it outside your reality. But most of the country isn’t as enlightened as you are.
It is what you think it is but don’t want to admit to yourself.
@Jen: genuinely engage with communities of color, over the long haul. Trust takes time to build. In the New Orleans Twitter thread I linked, people mentioned several options: visit the 9th Ward. Visit the HBCUs. Etc. And spend a lot of time listening.
@EddieInCA: Perhaps you should spell it out.
I don’t think it’s that he’s gay — Bernie is not really doing any better with blacks, and I don’t think Bernie is gay, plus there are black LGBTetc (and LGBTetc supporters), and they also have no interest in Buttigieg.
I think Buttigieg projects an optimistic vision of American meritocracy where race shouldn’t matter, and that this comes across as bullshit to people who have experienced racism. But, I could be wrong.
@Gustopher: or rather, many of us started to believe that vision when Obama put it forth, and we were proved horribly wrong.
Actually, per the most recent poll, Bernie is about 20% of the national AA vote. Biden is at 41%. Buttigieg is at zero.
It’s the gay. African Americans – especially AA women – are not as supportive of LGBTQ people as other Dem constituencies. That seems inconceivable to me while home in Los Angeles. However, when working and living in Georgia, or Florida, or Texas (as I have been doing for the past 11 years almost exclusively), you get a different perspective. A gay man will not be able to motivate African American women to organize, canvass, GOTV, in numbers needed in swing states.
If my fellow Democrats elect him via the primaries to be the nominee, I will organize, donate, canvass, and do all I can to help him win, but I will be doing it same as I did in 2004 and 2000, thinking that my candidate is going to lose.
It doesn’t help your case that you include an election in which the Dem actually won (but had it stolen from him).
@EddieInCA: that wouldn’t result in him polling at 0%. As Gustopher pointed out, there are plenty of LGBT+ AAs and allies, and he’s getting little to no support there, too.
@EddieInCA: If you are correct in that theory (and you very well could be), I’ll admit to be depressed. Not because I am hell-bent on Buttigieg winning the nomination this time, but because it takes him or any other gay person out of the running for future runs. That IMHO would be a loss.
The odd thing is that I have periodically been mildly irked that it seems plausible that this country would elect its first gay president before its first female president.
Now this is an interesting theory. I can see that. I can also see his being gay as being a factor. It could well be a sum total of a number of things, of which his youthful optimism and being gay and not spending significant time in communities of color all contribute to simply not being appealing to AA voters.
The anti-gay aspect, if accurate, would be profoundly depressing. I like to think of Democratic voters as being above penalizing someone for who they are. I also think that it does not bode well for the Democratic Party in the long run if a core constituency is willing to block another core constituency from seeking the presidency. I was just thinking last night that if Biden manages to survive the primary, that Sen. Tammy Baldwin would be a good running mate choice.
@Jen: here are some relevant statistics: 51% of African Americans support same-sex marriage. 44% of Black Protestants do, which is nearly twice the percentage of white evangelicals who support SSM. And African Americans are far more likely to support anti-discrimination laws for the LGBT community than any other racial group, even when they personally oppose SSM.
While some of Buttigieg’s 0% support among AA Democrats is due to homophobia, a lot of it is not.
@Jen: here’s stats about AAs being more likely to oppose discrimination against LGBT people than any other group. https://www.prri.org/press-release/new-landmark-survey-of-50-states-finds-broad-support-for-lgbt-rights-across-the-united-states/
Finally, African-Americans are pragmatic voters, and they do the heavy lifting for countless Democratic races across the country. The fact that you are accusing us of being a problematic part of the Democratic coalition is, frankly, offensive. If Mayor Pete spends time getting to know us and we develop the trust that he has our best interest at heart, African-Americans will support him.
0% really is sad. He’s not a white nationalist or anything. I would think “tone-deaf but tries” would get more than 0%.
I mean, “tone-deaf but tries” is pretty much Biden’s schtick on everything.
@Gustopher: with the AA community, Buttigieg is affected by a combination of:
1) Unknown in general. Think about some of the others in this race currently or previously: Seth Moulton for instance, or John Hickenlooper. How many non-political junkies who aren’t their constituents even know who they are? Buttigieg is in this category for a lot of people. Biden isn’t.
2) Known but no relationship. There are many AA people who have heard his name and know the basics of who PB is, but have no relationship with him. That’s largely on PB, because his outreach efforts have been weak. (Note my links about his visit to New Orleans above). Again, Biden doesn’t have this problem.
3) Known but no trust. Some of this has to do with his record in South Bend with the AA community there. Biden, deservedly or not, gets a lot of trust cred in the AA community due to his relationship with Obama.
4) General concerns about his policies and stances. A lot of politically savvy AAs have concerns about his history with McKinsey, his dealings with police and the AA community in South Bend, his relationship with billionaires such Zuckerberg, what seems to be his pandering to conservatives, etc. Yes, Biden has these issues, too, but due to #3 above, some of it can be forgiven or overlooked. PB doesn’t have that fount of goodwill yet. And for the more progressive of folks in this category, why would they consider PB when there are more progressive candidates in the race?
4) Resentment at what seems to be outsized, fluffy attention to him when there are equally (or more) credentialed and more experienced POCs and women in the race. Some of this is to his credit, in that he hired a very good PR team that knows how to work the media. But many AAs are not looking at this as, “here’s a chance for a gay candidate to break barriers,” but rather as the media propping up another inexperienced but arrogant white man.
5) And finally, there’s homophobia. Which, as noted in the statistics I linked to above, is true of fewer than half of AAs, and even less when you consider that AAs are more likely than other groups to support LGBT rights, regardless of their personal or religious beliefs.
I’m going to turn this back to you (and Jen): why should African-Americans support PB? What does he have to offer that other candidates don’t? I’ve heard above that he’s smart and eloquent. So are many of the D candidates. His temperament is calm. Any suggestion that the other Ds aren’t? (Klobucher, maybe, due to reports of her temper, and Biden due to his impulsivity, but the others?). His vision. But as I noted above, a lot of AAs were drawn in by Obama’s vision, and feel very angry about how Obama was treated when he offered olive branches and talks of unity. Why would they believe a young, inexperienced white man when he offers something similar? What exactly does he have to offer than other candidates don’t, and thus AAs should give him their support?
If I could upvote this more than once, I would.
And if he’s the nominee, I’ll do everything I can to support him.
@Monala: As I read comment threads like the Twitter thread you posted, I find myself thinking that for all of the “oh noes, I’ll vote for whoever” that people are pledging, in the dark night of their souls, they’re going to find themselves too busy to get to the polls if the person they want is not on the ballot. I don’t think you’ll manage to circle your wagons, and even if you do, not all the guns will be pointed outward.
@Monala: I’m just baffled that a semi-plausible candidate who is not actively hateful gets no support.
Polling 10-12% in the general population, I would expect at least 3% in the black communities. Just from name recognition and general media stories and “he seems like such a fine young white boy” or whatever. Black folks are different, but they’re not that different. It seems a statistically improbable amount of bleed over from the rest of the Democratic electorate.
His polling suggests that he is antagonizing black voters with a red hot poker.
As far as why black voters should vote for him… I’m not going to tell anyone who they should vote for. I expect I’ll be voting for Warren, but I won’t even tell you to vote for her. Lots of fine candidates.
Both Warren and Buttigieg have work to do with black folks. I think Warren can bring the coalition together after the primary. Not sure about Buttigieg.
My 12% overall should mean 3% with blacks isn’t some careful math, or a woeful misuse of percentages…
I just expect that any Democrat candidate who polls at X% broadly can hit at least X/4% with every major constituency without even trying. Blacks, women, Jews, Latino/a/x folks, LGBTEtc folks and the rest aren’t monolithic, and are part of the same general media environment.
Someone who can’t do that has something distinctively negative and isn’t just “he’s not our favorite, but I guess he would do.”
Whoa, whoa–wait. That is not remotely what I was saying or getting at.
My point is that the Democratic coalition is large and big and diverse and, frankly, that’s messy–I also wouldn’t want it any other way.
But it does make it hard to coalesce around a candidate that makes everyone feel good about, and that can have implications for voter turnout.
AA are a loyal part of the Democratic base that frankly have been taken for granted for FAR TOO LONG.
@Monala: I have a ton of work to do today, so this is going to be more slip-shod than it should be, but I’ll try and respond to your query above re: why should AA support Buttigieg:
First and foremost, they should support him if and only if they believe he will work to address the entrenched inequalities in virtually every American system. From economics and finance, to health care, to education and housing, to law enforcement and the courts, systemic racism absolutely must be addressed. Buttigieg’s already called for a $25B investment in historically black colleges, a recruitment plan to get more minority teachers in classrooms, reducing incarceration levels by 50% (reducing arrests, decriminalizing drug offenses), and a plan to address the problem of vacant urban housing. He also supports the house bill that would study reparations.
The McKinsey thing–this has left me scratching my head, repeatedly. He was a junior-level employee and one of his tasks was analyzing grocery store pricing. He was recently out of college and had school debt. It’s a bit ridiculous to penalize someone in that position for taking the highly competitive job with the generous salary. I instead choose to credit him for realizing that it wasn’t for him and leaving–to join the military.
His work in South Bend as mayor is more complex and demands more scrutiny. He has acknowledged that he didn’t handle things well at all–but again, this is a weakness that should also be looked at as a strength *if he learns from it.* After all, no other Democratic candidates have had this close experience with community policing. I tend to believe that failures like his handling the aftermath of the shooting of Eric Logan are powerful teachers. Buttigieg met with Black Lives Matter, but the AA community absolutely should be wary–this should be an area they (the campaign) continue to work on.
Regarding New Orleans–I’m disappointed that Chasten didn’t realize the optics on that, and yes, it’s an indicator that the campaign isn’t spending the time they need to on making sure inclusion means inclusion, but I’ll also point out that when they DID make sure they had an inclusive group here in NH they were slammed for pandering. I’m not going to get too exercised about one spousal event, but yes, they need to do better.
I’ve addressed this before, but I’ll do it again. Is this Buttigieg’s fault? Political campaigns are not solely meritocracies. They never have been and never will be. This is the same attitude that Clinton’s supporters had about Obama in 2008 (who is this young upstart why is he getting the attention when she’s been around working her butt off for the party for decades, etc.)
Some campaigns catch fire, others don’t and we won’t ever be able to pinpoint exactly why. People resenting Buttigieg for striking a chord with voters isn’t something he can really do much about, is it? What’s he supposed to do, tank his own numbers? The media attention has followed the public attention, not the other way around. Buttigieg has been drawing significant crowds in NH for a long time. People were complaining back in April that the venues he was selecting were too small, too many people were being turned away. The media coverage here came *after* that started to be a pattern.
I really do have to get my work done now, I haven’t found a client yet who will pay me for interacting here! 😉 I guess in conclusion I’d say that Buttigieg has work to do to earn trust, but he shouldn’t be dismissed out of hand, particularly for things that he has no control over, from the attention he’s getting to his orientation. I appreciate his approach to problems, and I also firmly believe that the Democratic path to the White House is through red state Democrats, because of the distorting effects of the electoral college.
@Jen: Here’s what you wrote:
Is that not an accusation that AAs are problematic? You’re suggesting that AAs don’t support PB because they’re trying to block the LGBT community from seeking the presidency. Not just that AAs don’t know enough about him yet, or dislike him for other reasons, or simply prefer other candidates.
There’s also no evidence that “willing to block another core constituency” is the case. There are Democratic LGBT elected officials all over the country who received strong AA support.
@Jen: Your post is evidence of some of the things I’ve said above. You wrote:
From Corey Booker’s Wikipedia page:
Or how about Kamala Harris:
@Jen: BTW, when it comes to accusations of pandering, he should just ignore it. If something like that is a one-shot, then yeah, it’s pandering. But if it’s part of an ongoing strategy of outreach that includes a lot of listening, then people will see the sincerity of it. It takes time, and not doing what he did in South Carolina (inviting black leaders by email to learn more about his Douglass Plan, and if they didn’t opt out, claiming they endorsed him).
@Monala: I knew trying to get that completed too quickly was going to get me in trouble–regarding this:
What I meant was, this recently–meaning post Black Lives Matter. Booker’s experience is absolutely relevant (and I really love Cory Booker and I genuinely do not understand how he isn’t in the top 3, I’ve adored him since he was Mayor and shoveling snow off of constituent sidewalks). Harris’s experience is likewise relevant, but it does come from a different place in the justice system than a mayor (not better or worse, just different). Booker was already in the Senate when Black Lives Matter came to the public attention in 2014. It does make a difference. How police shootings were handled before and after Michael Brown and Ferguson is different. There’s more scrutiny and I welcome that but we have an awfully long way to go in this country. In that way of being in a situation gives one a heightened awareness of it that simply reading or knowing about it cannot, I think PB probably has some notion on what he could/should have done differently. If not, well, then he’s not as smart as I thought.
I was responding to the suggestion–not made by me, I’ll add–that Buttigieg was at 0% with the AA community in large part because he’s gay. Frankly, the statistics you’ve provided make me feel a bit silly that I didn’t do my own research prior to making the above statement, but because I did I’ll elaborate a bit on what led me to that.
I started thinking about what a “Pete’s horrid numbers in the AA community were because he’s gay” narrative might mean post-primary. Because that’s how politics works, and it’s why we get zillions of think pieces about how Democrats can appeal to older white males in the rust belt because that’s perceived at what tipped the scale in 2016. Apply that to Buttigieg, and even the suggestion that his weakness in the AA community was because he is gay will ultimately spill into the “electability” argument. Why? *Because* the AA vote is so important. This ultimately would be a destructive narrative to have because it would (strategically, not personally) set up a clash.
I believe it’s a moot point based on the stats you provided. But if it becomes part of the postmortem narrative, even at top levels, it’s going to cause problems for the DNC.
It’s also a caution for me that I shouldn’t comment after having a couple of glasses of wine, because I get moody and dark and everything upsets me.
I appreciate more than you know your willingness to push me on this and make me think and explain. You could have just written me off and I’m glad you did not.
@Jen: I appreciate this discussion you, too. I want someone who can beat Trump, repair some of the damage he’s done, and move us in the right direction toward overcoming income inequality, dealing with climate change, achieving universal healthcare, and protecting our democracy. That’s a huge order, even more than what Obama had to deal with, and I honestly don’t know which candidate is the best for the task. I’ll be voting for them, whoever it is.