MSNBC political analyst Zerlina Maxwell criticized conservative-leaning Christians for not being "kinder" and said that South Bend Mayor Pete Buttigieg is "demonstrating how to actually be a Christian," after the 2020 presidential hopeful shrugged off protesters in Iowa last night.
"I think that we are going to see a number of protests. Anti-abortion protesters are going to show up at events throughout this primary," she said on MSNBC Live. "I have no doubt. So I think it's a test for Democrats, including Mayor Pete, about how they can handle that type of direct adversity."
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Maxwell went on to say that Christians who oppose Buttigieg's beliefs on abortion and same sex marriage should be looking to him for cues on how to live in imitation of Christ.
"While I am a progressive feminist, I have often debated folks who are citing the Bible and shouting out Sodom and Gomorrah, that's something they always say. And I would always push back and say, ‘Listen, if Jesus is so great, why weren't you nicer? Why aren't you kinder? Why aren't you more fair and kind to your neighbor and to your fellow human beings?'" she said, in reference to conservative Christians.
"Jesus needs new PR. I always had that line growing up," she said. "Because, honestly, I think what Mayor Pete is doing, he is demonstrating how to actually be a Christian, to embrace people, to be more compassionate. I think that's an example that crosses partisan boundaries actually."
Recent analysis from MSNBC national political correspondent Steve Kornacki shows that Buttigieg has limited support outside of "liberal, higher income, and mostly white" voters. MSNBC host Kasie Hunt asked Maxwell if its possible that his message will attract people outside that demographic.
Buttigieg has only started to register in polls and the subgroup sizes for these can be very small.
But patterns are beginning to emerge and the Buttigieg base coming into focus seems to skew higher income, more liberal, and white: pic.twitter.com/pw6UcPohLf
— Steve Kornacki (@SteveKornacki) April 16, 2019
Maxwell said that Buttigieg faces an uphill battle, as she believes many voters have said they are not ready to support a gay candidate or a woman candidate.
"While it is sobering to hear such a few percentage of people say they would be ready for a gay president, we haven't had a woman either," she said. "There are a lot of Americans who voted basically to say we're not ready for a woman president because 13 percent, surprisingly 13 percent of black men voted for Donald Trump in 2016. So these are still issues we are very much dealing with and grappling with on all fronts."