On Tuesday, South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg, an openly gay candidate for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination, admitted to not disliking Chick-fil-A chicken sandwiches. The fast food chain has taken a great deal of flak recently because the founder funds organizations that support traditional marriage against LGBT activism. Buttigieg seemed to buck that trend.
Speaking to The Breakfast Club host “Charlamagne tha God,” Buttigieg said homophobia cannot be excused.
“What about Chick-fil-A? Do you like Chick-fil-A?” the host asked.
“I do not approve of their politics, but I kind of approve of their chicken,” the mayor responded.
Laughing, Charlamagne tha God said, “You my kind of guy, man.”
“Maybe, if nothing else, I can build that bridge. Maybe I’ll become in a position to broker that peace deal,” Buttigieg added.
The host lamented that modern politics has become an “era of extremes” and that “people can’t see nuance in things anymore.”
The mayor agreed. While a progressive, he insisted that “we’ve got to find a way to use our identities to reach other people.”
Buttigieg rejected a kind of divisive intersectionality politics. “There’s two things can happen when you are conscious of your identity: one is it turns into all these ways we separate ourselves from each other and it just turns into one big ‘You don’t know me,'” he said. “But the other way we can do it is we can say, ‘Okay, I’ve got this experience, you’ve got that experience, what can we talk about that brings us together?'”
He suggested that people from different backgrounds can speak with one another and see if their experiences “rhyme” with each other.
“You know I think good art has that, good music has that, good literature has that…” the mayor said.
Charlamagne tha God interrupted him, “good chicken sandwiches?”
Buttigieg agreed. “Good chicken sandwiches, and good politics. Good politics ought to have that quality to it.”
The South Bend mayor has made no bones about his disagreement with Vice President Mike Pence, slamming him as “homophobic.” Yet he has far more nuance than many on this issue. He at least acknowledged that Pence “sincerely” holds his traditional Christian beliefs against homosexual activity.
Make no mistake, Buttigieg is still a radical leftist. He supported the Green New Deal, calling it “pragmatic.” He supports Medicare for All, which he dubbed a “compromise.” He called for the abolition of the Electoral College to make society more democratic.
It is remarkable, however, that openly gay Pete Buttigieg is willing to extend an olive branch to Chick-fil-A, a fast food restaurant liberals constantly boycott and which Democrats in San Antonio recently banned from that city’s airport.
Buttigieg’s remarks should not be overestimated. The 2020 Democrat did not say he liked Chick-fil-A’s signature chicken sandwiches — just that he “kind of approves” of them. He went on to say he’d like to convince Chick-fil-A to stop funding conservative Christian organizations. Even so, his remarks were noteworthy.
On at least one isolated issue, a 2020 Democrat has shown a willingness to cooperate. This is inspiring given America’s current political climate, but then again it shows just how divisive our tribal politics have become.
Follow Tyler O’Neil, the author of this article, on Twitter at @Tyler2ONeil.