Cancel Culture Comes for Buttigieg

The left’s circular firing squad takes aim at Mayor Pete. Game over?

Mayor Pete Buttigieg speaking with attendees at the Presidential Gun Sense Forum hosted by Everytown for Gun Safety and Moms Demand Action at the Iowa Events Center in Des Moines, Iowa. August 10, 2019. (photo: Gage Skidmore)

First, Who Cancelled Sen. Kamala Harris?

Before we talk about Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the left should really be looking more closely at the recent demise of the Harris campaign.

What started out as a promising campaign, enjoying a steady rise in support on the heels of the Senator’s strong debate performances, crashed and burned last week.

Kamala Harris’s supporters, and her many detractors, have had a great deal to say since Harris formally ended her campaign.

It’s the billionaires, some said, in a likely reference to billionaire Tom Steyer and the more recent entrance of billionaire and former NYC Mayor Michael Bloomberg. The Harris campaign did in fact specifically blame lack of funding and the difficultly they had in keeping up with self-financing candidates like Bloomberg.

But no, argued others, Kamala Harris couldn’t win the Democratic nomination because of racism. They point to the current four Democratic frontrunner- all white- as proof.

No, argue others on the left, Kamala’s campaign was sunk from the beginning because of sexism. It is so much more difficult for a women, and most especially a woman of color to get ahead in “Trump’s America”.

Still others on the left point to Kamala Harris’s “problematic” history as a California prosecutor as the real reason she never gained widespread support from progressives, including in the African-American community.

On the right, however, the reasons for the collapse of the Kamala for President campaign seem simple, and two-fold:

First, Kamala Harris made the highly questionable decision to hire her sister to be her campaign chair. The whole campaign was badly run and poorly organized from the very beginning.

Secondly, and this is where Pete Buttigieg comes in, the left only eats its own.

Why the left would be reluctant to support Kamala Harris- who probably jailed a few people- over Joe Biden- whose long-term support of tough-on-crime bills over the course of his decades in office have certainly jailed tens of thousands, and probably millions- is a complete mystery on the right.

Luckily for those on the right seeking to understand such things, the left is currently giving another demonstration of its insatiable and illogical appetite for its own, and often its most promising candidates.

Certainly, the only thing hard-core Trump voters like more than watching Trump “stick it to the libs” is watching the libs stick it to each other.

Enter Mayor Pete Buttigieg, the winsome, earnest, midwestern ingenue who has been steadily gaining ground with Democratic moderates appalled by the weak performance of former Vice President Joe Biden.

Buttigieg’s progressive bonafides are manifold and he is deeply appealing to moderates. He is a smart, capable, young former Rhodes Scholar with exactly the sort of mixed-bag experience that can give a candidate widespread appeal.

He’s from the heartland- which pleases the working class, the Rust Belt and everyone in “Flyover Country”- but he is Ivy League educated- which pleases the left. He is a veteran, which moderates find very appealing. Buttigieg is openly gay- which pleases progressives- and a person of devout Christian faith- which appeals to moderates.

In spite of his youth, Buttigieg’s hard work had netted him a reasonably lucrative and prestigious career before politics. It is his pre-political life working at the firm McKinsey, and more specifically the recently published list of his former clients, that may prove his undoing.

And with that, “Saint Buttigieg” has become “Pete Romney” and “Wall Street Pete”, to name a couple of the nicer, pithier names. Members of the press, no doubt those preferring other Democratic candidates, had a field day, painting Buttigieg as a wealthy elitist panderer.

#RefundPete trended on Twitter as former Buttigieg donors and would be donors demanded a refund of campaign contributions or vowed not to send him a single dime respectively.

Others haven’t been as kind: “Pete Buttigieg is a Lying MF” was the title of a recent article published in the Root. “Pete Buttigieg is a Real Life Frank Underwood” was published on Medium.com today.

To be fair, the Buttigieg campaign has suffered from some of the same campaign mis-management problems that beset the Kamala Harris campaign. A couple of high-profile and highly embarrassing missteps in his efforts to court the African-American community vote left Buttigieg polling at zero with Black voters.

Worse than these mis-steps was the Buttigieg Campaign’s seemingly deliberate decision to leak internal polling data suggesting Black Americans don’t support Buttigieg because he’s gay. The campaign followed this calculated manipulation with another, even more egregious; an email sent to African-American community leaders that required them to opt out, or be listed in campaign ads as a supporter.

These bits of campaign chicanery did not go over well.

Still, these blunders are one thing- chalk it up to campaign growing pains, a massive influx of campaign cash resulting in a bunch of over-eager new hires. Buttigieg’s lucrative career in big business is quite another.

Donald Trump is something else entirely. Voting Democrats are universally, wholeheartedly, unanimously, worried. And well they should be.

But the fact that Buttigieg’s financial success has become a deal-breaker on the left should be more worrying.

(contributing writer, Brooke Bell)

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