Yikes. Just as he is surging in the Iowa polls, “It” guy Democratic Presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s campaign organization made an epic botch of sufficient scope as to raise competence, honesty and responsibility questions.
On October 24, Buttigieg released an op-ed claiming more than 400 South Carolinians had endorsed his “Douglass Plan for Black America.” The mayor of South Bend has a strained relationship with African Americans, so this was obviously an important initiative. The problem: the three black politicians listed at the top of his press release never endorsed his him, and while the campaign had implied otherwise, 40 % of the endorsement names listed were not black but white. “There is one presidential candidate who has proven to have intentional policies designed to make a difference in the Black experience, and that’s Pete Buttigieg. We are over 400 South Carolinians, including business owners, pastors, community leaders, and students. Together, we endorse his Douglass Plan for Black America, the most comprehensive roadmap for tackling systemic racism offered by a 2020 presidential candidate,” the press release read.
The Intercept interviewed the three black politicians and determined that none of them endorsed Buttigieg. Only one of the three endorsed his plan, which includes reparations for slavery.
Incredibly, Buttigieg’s campaign sent out an email telling black politicians they needed to opt out if they did not want their name on the endorsement list. That’s outrageous. No candidate can assume an affirmative endorsement because an individual doesn’t explicitly deny one.
The email sent out to prominent South Carolinian politicians read,
Good afternoon —
Thank you for your willingness to publicly support Mayor Pete Buttigieg’s Douglass Plan, the boldest plan in the 2020 candidate field to combat the effects of systemic racism and make comprehensive investments in Black communities.
Below is an op-ed that will run in the Carolina Panorama this week announcing the support of over 400 Black South Carolinians for the plan. Given that you have signed on as an endorser, you will be included in the list of endorsements attached to the opinion piece. If you do not want your name included, please let us know by 4pm ET today.
But wait! There’s more! Buttigieg’s campaign used stock photos of Kenyans in its promotional material for the Douglass plan.
Back to the Ethics Alarms headline: what is the fair way to treat this epic campaign fiasco?
The first would be to cover it. The Washington Post was on the story: anyone want to bet if MSNBC finds it newsworthy? The second would be to treat Cute Pete’s misrepresentations and shoddy staff work exactly as the media treated similar incompetence by Donald Trump’s campaign in 2016. The third would be to hold Buttigieg to an uncompromising high standard, as any Presidential candidate ought to be able to meet, and not give him special leniency because he’s young, refreshing, and gay. The fourth would be to observe how the Buttigieg campaign responds going forward.
Pointer and Facts: The Federalist