The candidates for the Democratic nomination are gearing up for the debate stage in Las Vegas on Wednesday night, but South Bend residents are speaking up about Pete Buttigieg to warn the country that he may not be ready to take on the Oval Office.
Buttigieg currently leads the pack in number of delegates — just edging out Bernie Sanders — heading into the latest primary debate. But as the New York Post reports, not everyone thinks his surge is a good thing.
Several residents spoke out about their experience under a Buttigieg administration in their city, saying that an increase in violent crime and a lack of attention for the challenges that face the black community in the city indicate that he isn’t ready to run the country.
“Look at all the crime — he didn’t do anything about it. Look at our quality of life. If he becomes president, the United States will become one big South Bend — a giant sinkhole. We’ll be in a new depression,” said one resident who lives on South Bend’s West Side. “If he’s the next president, I fear for our country. He couldn’t run our city. How can he run the United States?”
One person said that he would rate Buttigieg’s job performance low.
“Rating him 1 to 10, I’d give him a 2,” said Cornish Miller, 62. “The street I live on is the only street around here that has lights. That’s because we’re a gateway to Notre Dame.”
Under Buttigieg’s tenure as mayor, crime increased from 622 incidents to 1,088 over six years. One resident and a local reverend told the publication that the city saw a record number of homicides and the Democratic nominee didn’t seem to understand the impact it was having on the community.
Another individual, who ran against Buttigieg in 2015, said that it seems evident Buttigieg sees his role as mayor as a stepping stone to bigger things, claiming that the young Democrat has always had “one foot out the door” with an eye towards “something…larger.”
Others argued that Buttigieg has done some good for the city, including improving the streets and pedestrian access, along with the city parks. He has also spearheaded river improvements and helped revitalize the downtown area. However, critics say that those successes were largely from the governor’s efforts — not Buttigieg’s.
The mayor has also been criticized by residents for failing to address homelessness and food access in impoverished neighborhoods.
The military vet took office as mayor when he was just 29 and is the youngest candidate still in the race for the Democratic nomination.