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Gay Is the New Black: The Buttigieg Candidacy

We need to talk about Pete Buttigieg and why his candidacy for president in the age of identity politics is negatively disruptive — though this certainly doesn’t mean he shouldn’t run. He’s the mayor of South Bend, Indiana, and the first openly gay candidate to run for president. It’s not a comfortable discussion. I’ll be called a homophobe for having it. But it’s necessary, so let’s dive right in.

The politics of the Democratic Party is driven by an ideology that pits one group against another. Blacks against whites. Gays against straights. Women against men. Political agendas and views are often put in that frame. We saw the consequences of this during Barack Obama’s reign as the first black president. If you criticized him, you were called a racist. Almost all statements and judgments regarding his policies and performance were filtered through the lens of identity politics.

This was true with the candidacy of Hillary Clinton as well. Democrats tried to put any criticism of her agenda in that context. Women who opposed her were called traitors to their sex. Men who refused to vote for her were inevitably called misogynists who didn’t want a female president.

Most of the time these accusations were untrue, but the truth doesn’t matter in identity politics. Character, qualifications, and political philosophies don’t matter. It’s all about the group identity based on the hierarchy of historical victimhood, which elevates anyone who is not a white, straight man to the top of the ticket.

Like it or not, this is the state of our culture today. Politics is saturated with it. It worsened under the presidency of Obama for obvious reasons. The more you criticized his progressive and anti-American policies, the more you were labeled a racist. These increased tensions between blacks and whites, a trend we saw on full display in the recent Covington controversy when a group of black adult men accosted white high school students with racial and degrading slurs — a disturbing scene of abuse that was applauded by many in the media.

We now have a climate of group hostility — the bastard child of identity politics. As a result, we are increasingly incapable of seeing people for who they are as unique individuals, and instead, we plug them into a collective through which everything is judged.

Enter Pete Buttigieg into the fray. The South Bend mayor is a Rhodes Scholar and served as an intelligence officer in the Navy Reserve, spending seven months in Afghanistan in 2013. Reviews of his performance as mayor are mixed, as some think he’s done a good job in South Bend while others consider his service less than stellar.