But Can a Gay Man Make It In the South?

As I write this thread, there is a very good chance Pete Buttigieg will be the Democratic presidential nominee for 2020. He probably made it in Iowa. He was second in New Hampshire. Big deal. So was Hillary and her husband.

And I have nothing against that. I am gay myself. Why should I?

Just one thing bothers me: Could a gay candidate make it thru the South?

I think he would get a pretty fare chance in the rest of the nation. All the old homophobes have died (sorry, but it’s true). Now, Generation X and Millenials dominate our country. In fact, last I heard, most Americans (even R. Catholics, interestingly) support gay marriage.

But then there’s the South.

How would he fair there? And I know it’s not in my title, but while we’re at it, how would he fare with African Americans? They seem open-minded enough. But the they tend to be more religious, which could mean anything (cf. the Catholic note above).

So how would he do, with these unique groups? And would he get enough support to overcome any regional bias?


Perhaps he could be elected without the South. We will see.

I think being a Democrat in the south is much more of a deal-breaker than being gay. There isn’t a soul in the Democratic Party that would carry Mississippi. GA and NC are the only southern states that a Dem has a prayer at winning. I don’t know if being gay is going to cost him a ton of votes, but there will be some just as some people wouldn’t vote for a minority or a woman.

I’m a rare guy, while male who votes Dem in the South. We are a vanishing species. Clay Aiken ran for Congress in my district and got 40% which means he only got the Dem base vote.

There will be a gay president some day but it will take a while. We probably get a woman first.

Why “even” Roman Catholics? American Catholics are slightly more liberal on most social issues (gay rights, abortion, etc.) than the country as a whole. They actually got to majority support 2-3 years before most Americans.

Are you asking can he get the dem nomination in those states or GE??

Nomination…maybe. Election??? No Dem could. I still think the 1.4 million felons getting the vote in FL might flip that state though.

First, to the OP: I personally have no idea, being from the south (well, sort of - Virginia) but having lived in New York since 1991, have no feel for your question. But that would go to this point: I wouldn’t rely on my “feel”, and would want to see polling instead. Is anyone aware of any?

As for flipping Florida, and assuming there is no great backlash against Buttigieg, if Florida flips, the Dems need only take one of Pennsylvania, Michigan, Minnesota, or Wisconsin, while the rest of the states vote as they did in 2016, and the Dems win. So to me, any question about whether any Dem can win comes down to the states I mentioned. If Florida doesn’t flip, the Dems would have to take any three of the others I mentioned.

You don’t need the south to win the general election if you carry the midwest and southwest.

Well, you do need virginia but that shouldn’t be hard. YOu can lose the rest of the south.

As was asked, later primaries or general assuming he’s nominated? Right now I guess he’d be better off focusing on winning primaries :). In which case the question is mainly if culturally conservative black Democratic primary voters would have a problem with his orientation. Various posts on various threads have supposed this is a major part of his lack of black support up to now, but something the media is wary of explicitly covering. On latter I agree, it’s the kind of thing subject to pretty much a major media cone of silence. But that doesn’t mean there’s actually is a lot of evidence of it.

Lack of black support for Buttigieg could be explained by the combination of not having really heard of him, among people who don’t focus on it till their state’s primary approaches, unfavorable things they’ve heard of his relations with the black community in South Bend (accurate or not), on top of whatever reasons ~3/4 of a heavily white primary electorate in IA/NH didn’t vote for him. But those could be fixable; the last one tends to be fixed in part just by outlasting other candidates till there are fewer choices.

As for general, the stereotypical ‘white Southerner’ isn’t a Democrat. And in ‘Southern’ states the Democrats would reasonably hope to win in a close national race they’d generally rely on people who live there but aren’t really ‘Southerners’, in addition to African Americans. In many of the groups comprising non-‘Southerners’ living in that region a candidate being gay, if there’s any perception other voters are shunning them or the opponent attacking them for it, could actually generate votes or turn out.

In summary, Buttigieg’s chances of getting the nomination probably do depend a fair amount on gaining traction with black Democrats he so far lacks, for whatever reasons. In the general if he got there, there’d be too many other things going on IMO to make an electability bet based on his sexual orientation.

I live in the deep south. Red state Arkansas. He’ll have a steep climg here, IMHO.
I’m not exactly where the pulse beats but there are a bunch of gun toting, Trumper rednecks.
It will be an interesting number to see.

Essentially what I said, but yes. Clinton in 2016 took Virginia, so I didn’t bother to mention it. Flip the midwest states of Wisconsin and Michigan, and the eastern state of Pennsylvania, and you don’t need Florida. Or flip Florida, and you only need one of the others. Or you mention the southwest. Arizona might be in play, so add that to the above list.

The main point I would like to make to all the people who are legitimately terrified of Trump, don’t think of this in terms of “we have win this election across the whole of America or we are doomed.” To a certain extent, we do, but most states that went for Clinton will go for the Dem this time. California, New York, etc. That makes it quite a bit less daunting of a task.

Assuming the OP means the general election, I don’t think Buttigieg would carry any Southern states (except for perhaps Florida, but that’s not truly a “Southern” state) but as the others pointed out above thread he doesn’t need the South, any more than a Republican needs the Northeast or west coast.

Surely, and I would add, most blacks are for Biden, whom we’ve all known about for years. If he bows out, his supporters have to go somewhere.

I think, all other things being equal, being gay is a disadvantage in American politics, just like being black is a disadvantage. But it’s not impossible to overcome for a good candidate.

In the primaries, the big question mark is whether Buttigieg can pick up any significant fraction of black support. In the general, I wouldn’t worry; blacks tend to be slightly less supportive of gay rights than whites, but the Democratic Party has been moving pretty steadily leftward on gay rights for the last twenty years and it doesn’t seem to have lost them any black support.

In my part of the South, his biggest problem is the “(D)” next to his name. Democrats now rank below child molesters and atheists in this area. His gun policy won’t help, but the (D) is a nail in his coffin. Voters here simply will not look past his party affiliation before rejecting him.

I spent ten days on the ground in SC around Thanksgiving and what I found was massive political apathy. They didn’t hate Pete, they didn’t like Pete, they just didn’t care. It’s like selling Christmas trees on the 4th of July.

I think part of the issue is that the South is so solid Republican that it’s hard for them to get enthused about any Democrat. It must suck going to the polls and knowing that all your candidates will lose. Plus, South Carolina doesn’t seem receptive to the retail politics of Iowa and NH. Perhaps that’s because IA and NH are in play in most general elections.

Buttigieg being gay certainly isn’t an advantage, but then again it doesn’t even help him in the gay community. But, he is the front runner as of today and has the same record as Bernie with winning one state and a strong second in the other. It’s far easier to back a winner.

Pete does have a world class campaign organization. It’s been thin in SC but it’s ramping up as staff moves in. The rest of the Super Tuesday South will get some attention as well.

But, regardless of who the Dem nominee is, they’re likely to only take Virginia. NC and Florida could be close as they always are, Georgia as a win only in a landslide.

I think people are leaning on older black people tend to be less positive on LGBTQ rights, but I think it’s a crutch. The little support in the black community for Buttigieg isn’t necessarily due to the fact that he’s gay, but rather he doesn’t seem to prioritize the issues that matter to the black community. He released a Douglas Plan and criminal justice plan, but only after he was criticized for his record on race, which a lot of black folk see as slightly suspicious. I think black voters in the South want some reassurance that their concerns won’t be pushed to the background if he gets into office - as has happened with white politicians in the past.

There’s also incidents like these:

I live in a rural county in North Carolina. We had a legislator here named R.C. Soles. You can look him up if you’re interested, but while he wasn’t out, it was widely assumed that he was gay. There was a mountain of circumstantial evidence that indicated this. He kept getting elected, but I heard more than one person using homophobic language about him, saying things like, “he’s a queer, but he’s our queer.” I don’t think local folks will be receptive to an out, gay man from somewhere else.

Really? Posting Bernie propaganda? I guess Bros gotta Bro.