When Pete Listens, What Does He Hear?

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Barf BagWelcome to Barf Bag, a daily politics roundup to help you sort through the chaotic Trumpian news cycle.

Pete Buttigieg, a man who is very upset about the fact that public goods benefit everyone, has some problems with black and Latinx voters. Namely, that they don’t like him. In a recent Quinnipiac poll, Buttigieg is polling at zero percent with black voters in South Carolina—ouch! He’s not faring much better with Latinx voters, with whom his numbers are stuck in the low single digits, and at one percent in the important state of Nevada.

The eventual Democratic nominee will win because of support from voters of color, and especially black voters. And while a large part of the explanation for his low polling numbers are his decidedly milquetoast politics—many young black and Latinx voters are Bernie fans—it’s just as clear that his campaign’s own lack of interest to date in engaging anyone who is not white and living in Iowa or New Hampshire and named Susan is also to blame. While his campaign spins the fact that many voters of color aren’t familiar with Buttigieg yet as a “huge opportunity,” there’s a reason that he’s largely an unknown. Buttigieg, according to a Politico piece, has essentially ignored Latinx communities and organizations in key states like Nevada, and hasn’t even tried to meet with the Congressional Hispanic Caucus. One activist, Cesar Carvajal with Make the Road Action in Nevada, described Buttigieg’s outreach to Latinx voters as “virtually nonexistent.”

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And while Buttigieg’s campaign has pretty transparently tried to blame his dismal numbers with black voters as an issue of homophobia, and not, say, because of his mishandling of police brutality as mayor of South Bend or his mistake-riddled rollout of his Douglass Plan or his comments in the past that the reason for the racial achievement gap isn’t institutional racism but because black students don’t personally know a single person who “who testifies to the value of education,” he’s now now trying his best to make the argument that he really gets it. (Spoiler alert: he does not.) This past Sunday, he met with the Poor People’s Campaign’s Reverend William Barber and his congregation, kicking off a swing through the south that will take him to South Carolina as well as Alabama. Barber had this to say about Buttigieg’s visit: “He came, he listened and he learned.” I guess we’re supposed to be thrilled that Buttigieg listened, which is the lowest bar I can imagine setting for a politician? Too bad he still sucks!


The House Judiciary Committee will kick off its own impeachment hearings this week, beginning with a panel of legal experts who will likely drone on for hours about the Constitution and what constitutes an impeachable offense (i.e., half of what Trump has done since taking office). While Donald Trump and his attorneys will shockingly NOT be participating, the New York Times has an illuminating profile of one of the men tasked with defending Trump, Jay Sekulow.

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We learn that Sekulow is Steve Bannon-approved and a fan of the three-corner silk pocket square. Sekulow, who became an evangelical Christian after being raised Jewish, became what the Times called a “litigator for the Christian right” and televangelist after he was sued for fraud and securities violations and went bankrupt. One of the groups he’s represented? The anti-abortion extremist group Operation Rescue. Lovely man! And because scammers always scam, he’s also known for siphoning tens of millions from donations made to Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism, a group he founded, to himself and his family members. Prosperity gospel in action!

Oh, and he voted for Hillary Clinton in 2016.


  • Republican Representative Duncan Hunter, who was charged with using campaign funds to pay for, among many, many things, his extramarital affairs, extravagant vacations, as well as airfare for his pet rabbit Eggburt, has changed his tune and will now plead guilty to campaign finance violations. [San Diego Union-Tribune]
  • Montana’s governor Steve Bullock, a man that I had forgotten was running, has finally dropped out of the Democratic presidential race. [New York Times]
  • Joe Sestak (who?) has also dropped out of the race, leaving only one Joe left. [Politico]
  • Surprise, surprise, health care industry lobbyists are helping elected officials write op-eds critical of Medicare for All. [Washington Post]
  • In more proof that the universe is trying to make my life a living hell, Andrew Yang keeps on raising a shit ton of money. [Politico]
  • Here’s a very dumb response to a very dumb decision: after Bloomberg (the media outlet) announced that it wouldn’t engage in investigative reporting on Bloomberg (the man) as well as his Democratic rivals, the Trump campaign has decided not to offer media credentials to Bloomberg News reporters. [CNN]
  • Some important context for Elizabeth Warren’s viral moment at a recent town hall.
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About the author

Esther Wang

Senior staff writer, Jezebel