He has to prove that he can win over African American voters, who make up the vital core of the party base. A relatively small but nonetheless influential number of black South Carolinians may be resistant to him because of his sexuality. “He’s got to convince people like my dad and my uncles, when they still unfortunately subscribe to stereotypes,” said Malloy, who is black and lives in Hartsville, a small town in rural northeast South Carolina with a black population of almost 50%.
Buttigieg has been careful not to equate the struggle for acceptance among gays to that of African Americans seeking equality and civil rights. At the same time he has tried to reach voters with a message of belonging, with the hope that it resonates in the state’s robust Christian community.
[SC newspaper, The State, endorsed Buttigieg]