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Buttigieg: I Can Win The Presidency Because I’m A Gay Man In ‘Mike Pence’s Indiana’

Buttigieg vastly overstated his record of winning elections. He’s also giving a false portrayal of Pence and state Republicans’ actions that created legal preferences for LGBT people over people of faith.


During the sixth round of Democratic debates Thursday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg told Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., he was fit to run for president because he won an election in “Mike Pence’s Indiana.”

“We should have someone heading up this ticket that has actually won and has been able to show that they can gather the support that you talk about. Like moderate Republicans and Independents, as well as a fired-up Democratic base. And not just done it once, I have done it three times. I think winning matters,” Klobuchar said.

“If you want to talk about the capacity to win, try putting together a coalition to bring you back to office with 80 percent of the vote, as a gay dude in Mike Pence’s Indiana,” Buttigieg said.

Here are some pictures of Buttigieg “struggling” in Indiana when Pence was governor.

Buttigieg did not come out as homosexual until years after he was elected mayor in the town of South Bend, population 100,000. The first election Buttigieg ran for after disclosing his sexual behavior was for chairman of the Democratic National Committee, an election that did not take place in Indiana.

Even if Buttigieg ran for re-election in South Bend, he wouldn’t be running in “Mike Pence’s Indiana,” because South Bend is a historically blue city. Every mayor since 1972 has been a Democrat and in the 2016 election, South Bend was one of only four counties that voted for Hillary Clinton over Donald Trump. Further, and perhaps obviously, Pence no longer holds office in Indiana.

Pence in fact presided over the Republican state legislature’s capitulation to pro-LGBT business interests, who snowballed a state version of the Bill Clinton-signed Religious Freedom Restoration Act into special legal protections for people who claim an LGBT designation. As Dennis Saffran explained in 2015 in these pages:

In caving to corporate and elite pressure to ‘fix’ Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act, Gov. Mike Pence and the rest of the state’s laughingstock Republican leadership have ironically bungled into amending it in a way that now makes Indiana the most hostile state in the country to the conscience rights the original law was designed to protect.

The hastily and stupidly crafted amendment they enacted during Holy Week provides that Indiana’s RFRA can never be used as a defense in any gay rights or other civil rights proceeding by anyone other than a clergyman, church, or religious institution.

Buttigieg vastly overstated his credibility and record of bringing together diverse coalitions and winning elections. He’s also giving a false portrayal of Pence and state Republicans’ actions that created legal preferences for LGBT people over people of faith, even though Pence often gives the opposite impression of his own record while out giving speeches.