Buttigieg tells Young Democrats that GOP policies have failed

In his first presidential campaign event in Indianapolis, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg tried to draw attention to what he sees as failed policies by the Republican Party.

During his speech Thursday night at the Young Democrats of America National Convention at Union Station, the 37-year-old talked about his perception of Republican politics as he grew up—tax cuts for the wealthy, denying climate change, deregulating banks and preventing gay couples from marrying.

“Nothing they say actually works in the real world,” said Buttigieg, who is openly gay and married. “Now is our chance to set the agenda and make them respond to what we have to say.”

Buttigieg also accused Republican leaders, especially President Donald Trump, of trying to distract voters by attacking the group of four minority female Democratic members of Congress known as “the Squad.”

At a Trump campaign rally on Wednesday night, chants of “send her back” broke out, directed at one of the women—Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota—who was born in Somalia.

“We can’t let him steal all the oxygen from what the Democrats are doing right,” Buttigieg said of Trump.

After his speech, Buttigieg told reporters he’s not concerned about winning over the voters who chanted “send her back” at the Trump rally.

“The reality is, there are a lot of committed racists whose vote I’m never going to get,” Buttigieg said. “There are also some people who I think are thinking twice about the votes they cast in 2016.”

Buttigieg said the older generation is counting on the younger generation to change the situation and win back the White House.

“Young Democrats, we are what comes next,” Buttigieg said.

Deborah Simon, a philanthropist and daughter of the late Simon Property Group Inc. co-founder and billionaire Melvin Simon, introduced Buttigieg after encouraging the crowd to do whatever it takes to win in 2020 and defeating Trump, who she called “a horrible man.”

Simon talked about how she met Buttigieg when he unsuccessfully ran for chairman of the Democratic National Committee in 2016.

“He was impressive then and even more so now,” Simon said.

Even though Buttigieg was among a group of young Democrats, it was not an entirely friendly room. Chants of “black lives matter” erupted as he took the stage, and people in the crowd shouted at him several times during his remarks.

“Black lives matter,” Buttigieg said after the chants quieted when he took the stage. “We’re on the same team.”

Political observers say Buttigieg has struggled to gain support from black voters, and the situation was brought to the forefront after a police officer fatally shot a black man in South Bend last month.

When asked after his speech what he is doing to connect with black voters, Buttigieg said he thinks his plan to combat systemic racism is the most comprehensive plan compared to other 2020 candidates. He calls it the Douglass Plan, a nod to black statesman and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.

“The plan is really well-received, but I’ve got a lot of work to do,” Buttigieg said.

Earlier Thursday, Buttigieg said he spent time at the Indiana Black Expo Summer Celebration with Indianapolis Mayor Joe Hogsett and Indianapolis City-County Council President Vop Osili.

Buttigieg is coming off a strong second quarter of fundraising. With nearly $25 million in donations, he led the pack of Democratic presidential candidates.

He will return to Indianapolis next week for the National Urban League convention, along with several other Democratic presidential hopefuls, including former Vice President Joe Biden, Sen. Cory Booker from New Jersey, Rep. John Delaney from Maryland, Sen. Amy Klobuchar from Minnesota, Rep. Tim Ryan from Ohio and Sen. Kamala Harris from California.

The Indiana Republican Party criticized Buttigieg’s appearance even before he made it.

“We hope Buttigieg can squeeze in a trip to South Bend while he’s here, where he might find time out of his busy schedule of big-dollar fundraisers with liberal celebrities to address his city’s vast issue of residents not even feeling safe in their own neighborhoods,” party spokesman Pete Seat said in written comments earlier Thursday. “The question stands that if Pete Buttigieg can’t even handle being mayor of South Bend, what makes him think he could handle being president?”

The Young Democrats of America National Convention started Wednesday and runs through Saturday. House Speaker Nancy Pelosi is scheduled to speak Friday.

Please enable JavaScript to view this content.

Story Continues Below

Editor's note: You can comment on IBJ stories by signing in to your IBJ account. If you have not registered, please sign up for a free account now. Please note our updated comment policy that will govern how comments are moderated.

8 thoughts on “Buttigieg tells Young Democrats that GOP policies have failed

  1. The Obama years of a stalled economy with limited opportunities for many, especially young people and college graduates entering the workforce, have been transformed into the strongest national economy in half a century, despite a relentless, brutal attack on President Trump, the architect of the economic rescue, from his political foes … on both sides of the aisle … and the news media, which has steadily deteriorated to a level below tabloid journalism. It has specifically been the GOP policies, championed by Trump that have turned the economy into a sea of opportunities for anyone with a solid work ethic that wants to realize the American dream. This economic turnaround benefits all those that choose to work, especially minorities that have realized the highest level of employment since such statistics have been recorded, as well as gay people and all special interest groups. Mayor Buttigieg sounds like he is in denial of current day reality and the GOP policies that have delivered this era of unrivaled prosperity for anyone willing to apply themselves. It makes perfect sense that Democrats and other opponents of President Trump criticize him nonstop on style, for the simple reason that they have no policy or platform positions to offer anything meaningful to improve the majority of voters lives. Key word “majority”.

  2. Obama inherited an economic mess, brought on by Republican policies and starting in 2009, the economy has been on a roll. All economists recognize we are 10 years into an economic expansion. Trump pushed through a deficit busting tax cut for the wealthy and corporate America, but the supposed “trickle down” impact of those tax cuts have not materialized for the middle class or the poorest in America. If you have student debt, a national problem delaying marriages, home buying and a host of other society impacts, you’ve received nothing from Trump and his team. If you want to make America dirty again, its land, water and air, just look at what the EPA has done in 2 years. Trump’s political foes have good reason to object to his policies and do. Trump as a person is unwholesome and would not be a welcome neighbor to anyone with an attractive wife or daughter at home. His apologists will be embarrassed someday and likely deny their fervent support of a man who took office with a minority of the votes.

  3. It’s amazing how Democrats trot out the same tired old talking points from the ’80’s all the time. I guess they have nothing else. Just as everyone benefited from the Reagan tax cuts back then, this time around, eighty percent of tax payers got a tax cut in the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act. It should’ve been 100%, but I’ll take it. The top 20% of earners pay 95% of income taxes anyway, so wouldn’t you expect that if their share of the burden is larger, any reduction of that burden would have a greater impact on them? Kind of a math thing, not an opinion. Buttigieg tries to blame the Republicans for banking deregulation, but the Gramm-Leach-Bliley Act which is the legislation that deregulated banks was signed by President Clinton at the behest of former Wall Streeter Robert Rubin, his Treasury Secretary. It was passed by a Republican Congress, but I don’t recall any objection from that great Man of the People Bill Clinton. As for denying climate change, I don’t think denying hoaxes is a bad thing. I wish more Republicans would do so more forcefully, maybe we wouldn’t have wasted $35 million and a lot of time and energy on that other great Democrat hoax, “Russian Collusion.”

    The Democrats, like Mayor Pete, are intellectually bankrupt. They can’t go to the voters and openly advocate for their Socialist vision for America, in the face of a strong economy, one that took shape only after the failed policies of the Obama years were repudiated by the Trump administration. So all they’ve got to run on is rage and envy. All they can do is put up candidates who fill one or more identity politics quotas, like Mayor Pete, the failed Mayor of South Bend (who is gay), or fake Mexicans like Beto, fake Indians like Warren, fake African Americans like Kamala. Yes, she is partially of African descent, but by way of Jamaica, but she grew up in Berkeley, California in the 1960’s and 1970’s, and both her parents were professors at the University of California. The idea that she personally experienced any form of segregation, as she claims, is laughable. If she ever sat on a school bus as a little girl, it’s because her school was too far to walk.

    Despite unrelenting anti-Trump propaganda on the mainstream media, he still manages a better than 50% job approval rating. Couple that with the fact that people who wear MAGA hats get assaulted, or who put Trump Pence bumper stickers on their cars find them vandalized in the morning, and I expect to see a 49 state blowout next November, Democrat hysteria notwithstanding.

    1. ‘Hope you’re right, Keith. Well-stated.

      Good analysis on the identity politics quotas.

{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining
{{ articles_remaining }}
Free {{ article_text }} Remaining Article limit resets on
{{ count_down }}