As early voting states have now begun casting their ballots, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg is getting quite the reality check from Democratic voters. And nothing says that more than the recent experience he had in South Carolina while trying to join in on a group of pro-union protesters.
Overall, Buttigieg has not done terribly. His is still on the list of the top five candidates in most area. However, there is also much room for improvement, especially as Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders continues to take the lead.
Among one of the many areas of growth needed for his campaign to succeed is gaining the support of the black community, as well as low-wage workers. Tuesday, only hours before the Democratic primary debate in the state, Buttigieg saw a chance to possibly get the attention of both. And he failed miserably.
Instead, he was quite literally chased to his waiting car.
Trying to appear as just another worker, Buttigieg and his entourage showed up to a union event in Charleston, where McDonald’s workers were demanding more union support, as well as a rise in the minimum wage to $15. Currently, South Carolina has the lowest amount of unions within the nation and keeps its minimum wage at the federal requirement of $7.25.
You can see by the following video that Pete received an okay welcome at first. They let him join the march and even gave him a microphone.
But it didn’t take long for things to go sour. Only a few short minutes into Pete’s speech, a group from the crowd started chanting, “He can’t be our president! Where was 15 in South Bend?”
This chanting continued for some time until Pete was practically forced to stop speaking. He quickly returned the microphone and began a hasty retreat to his vehicle. And speedy, it indeed was. The chanting crowd followed him, with reporters and protesters catching every embarrassing minute. His entourage of women staffers even felt the need to shield him and usher him away to safety.
Not exactly the look he was going for, I bet. It’s never a good sign when a presidential candidate needs to be escorted out of the area quickly. But it’s even worse when it is members of his own party that he is fleeing from.
The group who started the chanting was Black Voters Matter, a nonprofit aimed at getting more of the black community to cast votes. It would be the perfect group to gain support from. But it appears they, like most of America, have a problem with hypocrites.
While Pete has appeared to be in full support of more union presence and a higher minimum wage throughout the nation, members of Black Voters Matter pointed out that his pandering is “not authentic.” Brittany Smalls of the group said, “He can’t fix his own neighborhood.” Which begs the question, why would we trust him with our entire country?
And the truth is we can’t.
As the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, Pete did manage to raise the minimum wage there to $10 an hour but was unable to go any higher. Not that he really tried. And as some of these protesters pointed out, many city jobs in South Bend still pay less than $15 hour.
It could be that Mayor Pete is all too well aware of what has happened in cities that have raised their minimum wage to $15, such as Seattle and New York. Here, in these booming metropolises, workers are finding themselves without an entire paycheck as employers can no longer afford to pay their employees and run their business at the same time. In the end, it’s either let your employees go or run your business into the ground. And, in many cases, that still happens even after firing workers.
Naturally, Buttigieg wouldn’t want this for his much smaller Indiana city and so didn’t push for higher wages.
In that case, he is now knowingly pushing for policy changes that could destroy millions of small towns and cities all over the US by making it a national issue just to gain a few extra votes.
Of course, his apparent flip-flop on the topic could merely be his ignorance, much like Bernie Sanders, who has also proposed a federal minimum wage of $15. After all, if he was dumb enough to join this group, thinking they didn’t know about his past, he just might be naïve enough to believe that money is free.