Sunday, August 15, 2021


There's too much real news right now for this Washington Post story to gain traction, but don't worry, it will be followed up by many others:
Six months into his tenure as President Biden’s transportation secretary, [Pete] Buttigieg has not only entered the arena, he is standing at center court and schmoozing with players on both teams. A former South Bend, Ind. mayor who embraced the outsider mantle as a candidate, Buttigieg has quickly morphed into a quintessential Washington insider. He has used his position at the center of the high-stakes infrastructure talks to mend old rifts, strengthen existing friendships and build new alliances.

His smooth debut has taken on greater significance as Democrats confront tough questions about the future of the party leadership. Biden says he intends to run for reelection, but as he nears his 79th birthday, that is no sure bet for many Democrats. Vice President Harris, Biden’s heir apparent, has had a rocky first few months on the job, prompting some Democrats to question her ability to pick up the baton....

As a chief salesman for the bipartisan infrastructure plan that passed the Senate last Tuesday, Buttigieg has emerged the most visible member of the cabinet, and he is expected to play a prominent role as the talks shift to the House....

He is omnipresent on television and across the country, pitching new investments in railways and electric vehicles. He has become a fixture at dinners, Zoom meetings and photo-ops with boldface names. He gives out his number freely to members of Congress and frequently trades text messages with them.

... He has stayed in touch with members of his powerful donor network, parts of which have stuck together and put their money behind new causes. Many are hopeful that Buttigieg will run again, and his name routinely comes up in conversations about future elections.
In conjection with Fox News, the "liberal" media has already chosen the 2024 Republican presidential nominee, Ron DeSantis -- assuming Donald Trump doesn't run again (though he probably will). The press feels entitled to select the Democratic nominee as well, and would prefer that neither Biden (too old and boring) or Harris (ick! girls!) head the ticket.

So we'll be told that the choice of a "powerful donor network" is the candidate we really want, even though there's the pesky question of whether Buttigieg can appeal to the most important voting bloc in the party:
In the eyes of some Buttigieg allies, the transportation job ... can help [Buttigieg] shore up his biggest weakness as a candidate — his struggles among voters of color — by enabling him to showcase public works projects in diverse communities.

“Tailpipe emissions disproportionately impact communities of color and lower-income communities that tend to live nearer to heavily trafficked roadways and routes,” Buttigieg said in a typical comment during a recent trip to Georgia. “We have a chance to drive health equity as well as economic development through the right kind of climate action.”
Later this month, Buttigieg donors are holding a Zoom fundraiser for Quentin Hart, the mayor of Waterloo, Iowa. Hart, the Black mayor of Iowa’s most diverse city, was a key surrogate for Buttigieg as he struggled to make inroads with voters of color during his campaign.

“Mayor Hart is a great example of candidates that we know share our values, and they’re sort of part of the community,” said Nicole Davison Fox, a Buttigieg bundler and a partner at a New York investment fund. “It’s a community that’s rooting for Pete and the Biden administration from the sidelines.”
I don't know who'll be the Democratic nominee in 2024 if Biden doesn't run and Harris falters or chooses not to run herself. But whatever happens, I don't believe that having Wall Streeters run an online fundraiser for the Black mayor of a city even smaller than Buttigieg's own South Bend will be the key to winning the South Carolina primary three years from now, or even one of the keys. I think Buttigieg will always struggle to win over voters of color (as well as white voters who'd prefer a candidate capable of expressing human feelings). But the mainstream press will just keep trying to make him the consensus pick.

No comments: