“It’s not for nothing that a lot of my experiences even back home addressing black voters, specifically, is in church,” Buttigieg recently told reporters aboard his campaign bus in New Hampshire, in response to a question about what “clicks” with African-American audiences. “Knowing how important an organizing principle faith is in so many black families, in so many parts of the black community.”
Buttigieg, more than any other candidate seeking the Democratic nomination, has emphasized his identity as a Christian as part of his appeal to voters who, at first glance, might not feel like they have a lot in common with the white millennial mayor from the Midwest. In a series of appearances in front of predominantly black audiences across the American South this week, Buttigieg frequently leaned into his Episcopalian faith as a way to connect with black voters who have been, until recently, an afterthought for his campaign.
“I believe that I am here to make myself useful—that I am part of this political process to make myself useful, but also that I was put on this Earth in order to make myself useful to others,” Buttigieg told a largely black congregation during Sunday services at Greenleaf Christian Church in Goldsboro, North Carolina. “These are the values that I was taught by my parents. These are the values that I’m taught by my faith.”