OKATIE, S.C. (WSAV) – He may not be the front runner, but Pete Buttigieg’s personality and politics have drawn a lot of attention from voters in the early primary states.
Now, South Carolina’s primary is looming, and he’s looking for support in the Lowcountry.
He started Tuesday in Okatie.
“I think part of the presidency is to set the tone, the moral tone for the country,” said Buttigieg. “Honestly, a lot of it is in what you don’t do. More than we realized we have counted on the president to not act in certain harmful ways or racist ways.”
Speaking at a Latino coalition, he admitted there is a divide currently in the country but says it is not as wide as you might think.
“We have a strong American majority on immigration, health care, on raising wages, on supporting workers, on gun safety, things where Democrats used to be on defense there’s an American majority if we can keep it,” Buttigieg said. “Engaging that majority helps us then in the larger project uniting the American people.”
Instead of running in the interest of one party, he says he wants to make sure everyone is included.
“That shows that the division is more useful to them than the achievement would be,” said Buttigieg. “For my White House, the reverse would be true. We are depending on a unified base.”
The roundtable conversation focused on issues ranging from immigration to helping Puerto Rico and beyond.
“We are graduating nurses with DACA who cannot get a nursing license in the state of South Carolina,” explained Eric Esquivel of La Isla Magazine, one of the panelists.
Buttigieg didn’t offer specifics but did promise to address all these issues in his first term.
“In this one, we need to build a sense of solidarity of different people who have different experiences of exclusion but knits them together in the coalition,” he said.
“It turns out that’s most Americans. Just about everybody has been insulted by this president,” Buttigieg added. “That constitutes a big majority. There aren’t a lot of folks left who haven’t been insulted by him.”
Still, the candidate has been struggling to secure Latino and African American voters throughout the country.
“We are going to continue to make sure we are reached out to constituencies that won’t find their way to me on their own,” he said. “We have to come to the table first, build that relationship, build that trust and I think that’s campaigning at its best.”
Buttigieg is focusing his strategy on small groups of people to help get the word out about his campaign. Then the goal will be to do larger events with more voters who want to see him and, more importantly, vote for him in the primary in February.