Thursday afternoon, South Bend, Indiana mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg (BOO’-tuh-juhj) admitted to the assembled press that Georgia Democrat Stacey Abrams should be governor of the state.
“Stacey Abrams ought to be the governor of Georgia,” Buttigieg said to applause at the Democratic National Committee’s African American Leadership Summit in Atlanta.
“When racially motivated voter suppression is permitted, when districts are drawn so that politicians get to choose their voters instead of the other way around, when money is allowed to outvote people in this country, we cannot truly say we live in a democracy,” he continued.
While Buttigieg recounted the November 2018 election, he also took time to voice his support for dedicated funding for HBCUs, greater equity in education while introducing himself to the greater African American think tanks.
“I think there needs a dedicated funding source to help support HBCUs,” said Buttigieg. “It’s justified as fair for the simple reason that HBCUs were largely formed as a response to patterns of exclusion for Black Americans that were not able to take advantage of what this country was building by way of an educational system. So this is not about a gift, this is about restorative justice. Whether we are talking about this particular issue in higher education or across matters of health, criminal justice, education and economics, America has an obligation to right a wrong. To fix something that is broken.”
Buttigieg praised HBCUs for their “extraordinary work” helping build a burgeoning black middle class and turning out remarkable leaders.
“We need to have those encounters so that Black voters understand my commitment to deal with racial inequality in this country,” Buttigieg explained. “The themes that I talk about no matter who my audience is: freedom, security and democracy are themes that have a lot at stake when it comes to racial inequality. I am there to make sure on issues to lifting up minority entrepreneurship, greater equity in education, to confronting the systemic racism inherent in our criminal justice system.”
While Buttigieg was not raised in a community of color, he told the assembled it is “twice” important for him to speak on these issues because those issues are are core to the Democratic audience as a whole. According to Buttigieg, federal funding for HBCUs not only help African American students, but the United States as a collective unit.
Buttigieg’s appearance at the summit is inclusive of an effort to raise his profile with black voters. In a recent poll, the South Bend mayor only won 2% of black voters on his side, a key part of the Democratic base. Buttigieg has pledged to build a campaign team that reflects the country’s diversity while making a more consistent effort to address issues in the black community in a meaningful way.