May 12, 2019 at 6:35 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
Buttigieg says ‘divisive lines’ have entered Democratic Party
Pete Buttigieg said “divisive lines” have entered the Democratic Party. (Washington Blade file photo by Michael Key)

Pete Buttigieg reflected on identity politics in a bold speech Saturday night, asserting “divisive lines” have entered the Democratic Party.

Making a risky proclamation to his audience attending the annual Human Rights Campaign dinner in Las Vegas, Buttigieg said “so-called identity policies” has its limits.

“Because the more you know about exclusion, the more you think about belonging, and we have a crisis of belonging in this country,” Buttigieg said.

As NBC News reported, Buttigieg comments before supporters of the Human Rights Campaign were comparable to a “Sister Soujah” moment — a time when a political candidate repudiates the extreme elements of the party that candidate represents to appeal to a more mainstream audience.

Speaking about the impact of identity politics, Buttigieg said “these divisive lines of thinking have even entered into the consciousness of my own party.”

But Buttigieg didn’t entirely reject identity politics. In fact, he urged for an expansion of that view to encapsulate the experience of both a transgender woman of color and and the newly unemployed auto worker.

“We could also see in our identity the beginning of a new form of American solidarity by recognizing that the one thing we do have in common, maybe the challenge of belonging in a society that sees us for what makes us all different,” Buttigieg said.

That expanded view of identity, Buttigieg said, can impetus for unity as opposed to division and “can tear down the walls” among Americans.

“I’m ready to use my story, my alliance, my energy, and, yes, my privilege to throw myself into tearing down those walls, because I know what a wall can do,” Buttigieg said.

Watch Buttigieg’s entire speech here:

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

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