When I visited South Bend, everything seemed to be broken, faded, worn or falling apart. The area seemed blighted and miserable.
So why did Pete Buttigieg, the Mayor of South Bend, just announce that he's running in 2020.
For the White House.
Pete Buttigieg seems popular in South Bend. And Democrats are still trying to figure out how to win in reddish states. Pete Buttigieg is a gay man who has done well in a more conservative part of the country. No wonder some Dems think he might be the answer.
But it's hard to look at South Bend and see it as a success story, no matter how often Pete Buttigieg and his supporters push that claim.
South Bend remains a poor area. Its poverty rate is around a quarter. And everyone seems to do poorly in South Bend. Except Pete.
Hispanic households in South Bend have a 32.9% income poverty rate, which is 10 percentage points higher than the national Hispanic income poverty rate.
Asian American households in South Bend aren’t faring much better. Even though Asian Americans only comprise 1.4% of the city’s population, these households have significantly lower median incomes compared to the national average. At $31,313 annually, Asian Americans in South Bend are making less than half of the $74,245 annual median income for Asian Americans nationwide.
Depressing Asian incomes is a real achievement.
For example, the median African American household income in South Bend is $14,000 lower than the national average. As such, 40.2% of African Americans in the city fall below the poverty line, a number which is almost twice the national poverty rate for African American households.
Also South Bend has been listed as one of the most dangerous cities in America. And one of the worst cities to live in.
South Bend, Indiana is one of the most dangerous cities in the United States. There were 1,012 violent crimes in South Bend for every 100,000 residents in 2016, more than double both the state and national violent crime rates of 405 incidents and 386 incidents per 100,000 people, respectively. As is often the case in high crime areas, property values in South Bend are depressed.
So obviously it's time for Mayor Pete to put on his boots and run for president.
When Giuliani ran for the White House, he was coming off an amazing transformation of New York City. Being the mayor of one of the worst places to live in America is not your exit cue for higher office.
But it worked for Senator Cory Booker. Andrew Gillium has done the same thing.
The responsible thing to do, if you think you can fix the country, is to start by fixing your city. Instead Mayor Pete wants to run away from South Bend to the White House.
Considering the state of South Bend, what does that mean for America?