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OpEdNews Op Eds    H1'ed 2/5/20

The Creation Myth of the Buttigieg Campaign

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Pete Buttigieg
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This weekend, Pete Buttigieg told supporters that he became a viable candidate for president "on the strength of our vision" and "the urgency of our convictions." Such rhetoric fits snugly into a creation myth about his campaign that Buttigieg has been promoting since early 2019.

Summing up the gist of that myth, Buttigieg began this year by standing at a whiteboard and looking into a camera while he talked about the genesis of his run for the presidency. "We launched as an exploratory committee, not even a full year ago, with a few volunteers, zero dollars in the bank," he said -- and "without the personal wealth of a millionaire or a billionaire."

And Buttigieg offered reassurance to those concerned about big money in politics, saying: "What we built in 2019 we were able to put together without any contributions from federal lobbyists, or from fossil-fuel executives, and not one dollar from corporate PACs." But, as Aldous Huxley wrote in the introduction to his classic novel of dystopian technocracy, Brave New World, "the greatest triumphs of propaganda" are accomplished by maintaining "silence about truth."

Buttigieg has remained silent about what made the ascent of his campaign possible -- the early, major and continuing support from extremely rich people enmeshed with powerful and destructive corporate interests -- enabling the Pete for America campaign to get off the ground and gain altitude. Buttigieg's rise was propelled by the rocket fuel of funding from -- and bonding with -- wealthy corporate operators, who bundled big checks from other donors and provided an establishment seal of approval that resonated with mainstream media.

The deft spin from the Buttigieg apparatus and the huge media hype about him have obscured the significance of his deep-pocketed backers. Key information about those ties has rarely gotten into the mass-media echo chamber. Yet, occasional reports have offered a window into the big-money support for Buttigieg that he is eager to leave unmentioned.

Buttigieg may have started his presidential campaign a year ago "with a few volunteers" and "zero dollars in the bank" -- but it wasn't long before plenty of millionaires and billionaires flocked to back him with their own money and piles of checks from wealthy associates.

"Pete Buttigieg Is the Only Top 2020 Democrat Taking Money from Lobbyists," HuffPost reported in April. "Buttigieg's campaign said the donations wouldn't influence his policy positions and noted he isn't taking donations from corporate PACs or fossil fuel interests." Later, the Center for Public Integrity explained in mid-summer, Buttigieg "reversed his stance and refunded more than $30,000 from federal lobbyists... But Buttigieg has nonetheless continued to rely on wealthy and well-connected "bundlers" to help him fund-raise -- and to great effect, raising more money of late than most other 2020 presidential candidates."

As summer began, Buttigieg's star was ascending on Wall Street. There, the New York Times reported, "donors are swooning over Mr. Buttigieg enough to open their wallets and bundling networks for him."

By October, under the headline "Pete Buttigieg Takes Lead as Big Business Candidate in 2020 Field," Fortune magazine was reporting that "when it comes to opening hearts (and wallets) of business leaders across America, Buttigieg is shining."

It was the middle of October when Buttigieg defended his reliance on big donors with a memorable comment: "We're not going to beat Trump with pocket change." However, as Common Dreams pointed out, "Critics noted that (Bernie) Sanders and (Elizabeth) Warren are the top fundraisers of the Democratic primary, raising $46 million and $35 million mainly through small donations."

In early November, the Washington Post reported that "Wall Street donors have a new favorite candidate in the 2020 Democratic presidential field: Pete Buttigieg... Buttigieg leads his rivals in collecting contributions from the securities and investment industry, pulling in $935,000 through the first three quarters of this year, according to figures from the Center for Responsive Politics."

By then, Buttigieg was neck-and-neck with front-runner Joe Biden for largesse from billionaires. In December, Forbes documented that "40 billionaires and their spouses have donated to Pete Buttigieg's presidential campaign, according to an analysis of federal election filings, making the South Bend, Indiana mayor a favorite among America's richest people."

The outlines of Buttigieg's high-roller fundraising strategy came into sharper focus in mid-December when his campaign released the names of about 150 wealth-connected supporters who had each "raised at least $25,000 for our campaign." At the same time, Newsweek reported, "disappointed Twitter followers are requesting their money back from Buttigieg under the #RefundPete hashtag. Some say they are disappointed by his taking large donations, some say they're disappointed by his consultation work, some say they felt 'fooled' by his behavior and donated earlier in his campaign."

The effectiveness of the Buttigieg campaign's creation myth will soon be gauged by vote totals. Running for president in an era of oligarchy, Pete Buttigieg has chosen to be an antithesis of Bernie Sanders (who I actively support), resembling countless politicians so eager to take big money from the wealthy that it's unclear if they have any priority higher than trying to win the next election.

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Norman Solomon Social Media Pages: Facebook page url on login Profile not filled in       Twitter page url on login Profile not filled in       Linkedin page url on login Profile not filled in       Instagram page url on login Profile not filled in

Norman Solomon is cofounder and national coordinator of RootsAction.org. He was a Bernie Sanders delegate from California to the 2016 Democratic National Convention and is currently a coordinator of the relaunched Bernie Delegates Network. (more...)
 

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8 people are discussing this page, with 8 comments


Jim Arnold

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You've heard that the Buttigieg campaign paid Shadow, the company that created the app used in the Iowa fiasco, $46,000? And that Shadow was founded by Hillary staffers? click here

It might be thought it's "conspiracy thinking" to suggest this project may be designed for vote manipulation. I'd call it naive to think a thorough audit of the Iowa vote count isn't absolutely essential.

The Bernie campaign is going to have to pass through a maze of obstacles and sabotage. It's going to be an increasingly vicious political war.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 at 11:58:32 AM

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911TRUTH

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You took the words right out of my mouth. Was just about to post this.

Buttigieg is a fraud and a cheat.

And we thought we only had to worry about trump's cheating.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 at 4:59:46 PM

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shad williams

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I'd call it naive to think a thorough audit of the Iowa vote count isn't absolutely essential...Impossible.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 at 5:02:39 PM

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Private Citizen

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It was a dark and stormy night, long before Barrack Obama.

yurl.com/v5k3h8q

"Negro Dive Raided. Thirteen Black Men Dressed as Women Surprised at Supper and Arrested."

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 at 6:37:09 PM

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Harold Novikoff

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If what you write about Pete Buttigieg being backed by big money is true, (I believe you but would like to see some

facts in the article.) then I would assume that he is being put up as a decoy candidate who would easily be defeated by the preponderance of anti-gay voters

among those gullible enough to vote for Trump.

Submitted on Wednesday, Feb 5, 2020 at 11:54:59 PM

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Don Smith

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Thanks for an informative article.

Submitted on Thursday, Feb 6, 2020 at 6:35:22 AM

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Michele Goddard

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Good article. He always seemed terribly manufactured to me. His style and demeanor reeks of someone schooled at the DNC Elite Finishing School. Just seems completely phony. And I wonder about his military experience as an intelligence officer. Wonder what he did specifically.

Submitted on Thursday, Feb 6, 2020 at 2:03:06 PM

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Lance Ciepiela

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The mayor has risen to the top of polls in Iowa, surging ahead of Biden, Sanders and Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.). Of course, he doesn't have all the 'political experience' of a Bloomberg, Sanders, Warren, or Biden, but that may be just what 'potential voters' admire about the aspiring Democratic candidate. -

Submitted on Thursday, Feb 6, 2020 at 3:29:49 PM

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