Buttigieg vs. Biden on pandering to the crazy base

Last Sunday evening, a 54-year-old black American man named Eric Logan was killed at the hands of a South Bend police officer.  We do not yet know the whole story, but according to officials, Mr. Logan had a knife, and the white officer was responding to a call that someone was breaking into vehicles of the downtown apartment complex.

As a member of the South Bend community, I am saddened for Mr. Logan's family and realize the deep wounds that do exist between law enforcement officials and minority communities. But South Bend mayor and 2020 Democratic presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg's handling of this matter has been totally bungled by his kowtowing to the radicals in his party.

Buttigieg has tarnished the reputation of the officer involved as well as police officers nationally by associating the incident with systemic racism.  There is no evidence yet that this shooting was racially -motivated, but Buttigieg is trying to harness the public outrage among the black community to save face during a contentious Democratic primary.

In so doing, Buttigieg has invited the fringes of the Left to descend on South Bend, as the vigil for Mr. Logan featured several black-masked protesters (i.e., Antifa members) among others persons who were presumably genuinely frustrated and grieving Mr. Logan's death.

Buttigieg — a white, privileged, Harvard-educated son of a Marxist professor — fielded questions from a crowd of angry protesters who read out a series of demands.  These included the firing of the officer involved, changes in the city's body camera policies, the resignation of the police chief, and an investigation by the U.S. Department of Justice.

The optics were terrible for Mr. Buttigieg, who donned a clean, white shirt and tie, which clashed with the dozens of protesters — most of whom were casually dressed, lower-income black Americans.  The strange scene illustrated something that has become increasingly clear: today's  Democratic Party is composed of sects and groups whose only shared characteristic is that they vote Democrat in November.

The incident comes on the heels of former vice president Joe Biden making a series of gaffes in which he praised his having worked with Democratic segregationists in the U.S. Senate.  Biden swiftly received condemnation from his fellow 2020 contenders but refused to apologize.

Similarly, Buttigieg, as part of the new wave of Democratic leaders — alongside figures like Sens. Kamala Harris and Cory Booker — bent over backwards to ensure he did not appear even slightly insensitive following this shooting.  But in kowtowing to the mob, Buttigieg has made himself look weak.

In a strange way, I found myself sympathetic to Biden this past week.  Any reasonable person who listened to his quote would conclude the former vice president was contrasting himself with the views of segregationists, not praising them.  He was correct not to apologize, but in doing so, he made himself appear "un-woke" during the 2020 Democratic Party, or Wokefest 2020.

Make no mistake: there are plenty of other reasons to criticize Biden, including his work in the Senate and tenure as vice president.  This most recent slip-up was not one of those reasons.

But these tensions are inevitable when a party continues to slice and dice segments of the population — union workers, socialists, gay persons, minorities — all in order to garner 50% of the vote in November.  Such a strategy is bound to result in intra-party clashes, as Buttigieg has learned, and which have been on full display during this primary.

And that is why Joe Biden is simultaneously the strongest and weakest candidate in the Democratic field: he is the strongest general election candidate, yet one of the weakest during the primary process.

In contrast, Buttigieg's display on Friday evening evidenced his unwillingness to stand up to the fringes of his own party.  In such a setting, loud, extreme, and unreasonable voices get amplified.  No matter what Mayor Buttigieg said, it would not have satisfied the crowd.

And so Mayor Pete — an openly homosexual Rhodes scholar, dressed in pressed pants and black leather shoes — marched alongside black-masked white radicals and low-income minority persons.  The scene was emblematic of the Democratic Party's effort to hold together its ragtag coalition, composed of groups with absolutely nothing in common.

As a leader of the community, the mayor should have delivered a short address from a podium behind the city seal that expressed the frustration of the black community, affirmed his commitment to the city's law enforcement officials, and vowed to conduct a thorough investigation of the incident.

But the mayor was attempting to shore up support among his Democratic electorate and thus kowtowed to the radical Left.  In his effort to appear woke, the mayor instead appeared weak, as he stood at the center of an angry crowd, fecklessly trying to answer questions from a sleuth of outraged citizens.

Image: Marc Nozell via Flickr.

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