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Pete Buttigieg Has No Business Invoking Frederick Douglass

The opinions expressed by columnists are their own and do not necessarily represent the views of Townhall.com.
AP Photo/Paul Sancya

South Bend, Indiana Mayor Pete Buttigieg is shamelessly attempting to appropriate the legacy of Frederick Douglass, a black Republican.

As a Frederick Douglass Republican, I’m not surprised to see a Democrat politician invoke my idol to promote his plan for black America. Douglass’ expressed ideas were and still are Republican at their roots. 


Buttigieg’s plan and approach are disingenuous. 

In a desperate attempt to woo black voters, Buttigieg unveiled his so-called "Douglass Plan," thinking the name will appeal to us. 

Remarkably, the Buttigieg Campaign used a stock picture of a woman in Kenya to promote its initiatives geared toward African Americans, then hurriedly removed the image after people pointed out the distinction — a clear sign that the mayor’s team gave little thought to the rollout of the plan. 

As I have argued for years, the political philosophy of Frederick Douglass boils down to 11 life-empowering values: (1) Respect for the U.S. Constitution; (2) Respect for life; (3) Belief in the limited power of government; (4) Personal responsibility; (5) Legal Immigration; (6) Economic prosperity; (7) Free speech; (8) School choice; (9) Religious freedom; (10) The right to bear arms; and (11) Women’s rights. 

Buttigieg stands for NONE of these principles. 

He does not support the pro-life movement, and has promised to appoint judges who would refuse to protect the unborn, possibly even beyond the moment of their birth, based on his belief that on-demand abortion “is a national right.”

Buttigieg does not believe in the limited power of government. His environmental plan alone would cost taxpayers around $2 trillion— and that doesn’t even include the devastating fiscal impact of the policy’s job-killing regulations. 


Buttigieg doesn’t respect our Constitution, either. He envisions eliminating the Electoral College without a constitutional amendment. 

President Trump has actually achieved significant benefits for all Americans, especially African Americans, by adhering closely to Douglass’ life-empowering values. 

Thanks to his pro-growth economic policies — particularly his commitment to slash job-killing regulations and cut taxes for the middle class — the black unemployment rate recently dropped to its lowest point in the history of our country. The economic opportunity this president created by reining in the federal government is showing an entire generation of Americans that personal responsibility offers far greater rewards than dependency on the government handouts that Democrats offer.

Buttigieg is trying to co-opt the legacy of Frederick Douglass, a black Republican, and give zero credit to the successful policies of President Trump.

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