The Note: Democratic race consumed by politics of race

PHOTO: Counter protesters face down hundreds of white nationalists, neo-Nazis, KKK and members of the "alt-right" outside Emancipation Park during the Unite the Right rally on Aug. 12, 2017 in Charlottesville, Va. PlayChip Somodevilla/Getty Images, FILE
WATCH Biden showed 'a lack of understanding': Sen. Cory Booker

The TAKE with Rick Klein

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New disagreements over old but raw societal divisions are dominating the Democratic race for president.

On the eve of the first debate of the 2020 cycle, two prominent white candidates are finding themselves sidetracked by issues involving race.

South Bend, Indiana, Mayor Pete Buttigieg has had to curtail some of his campaigning while coping with the fallout of a police-involved shooting. His exchanges with members of his own community have been tense, including at an NAACP-organized town hall on Sunday.

Former Vice President Joe Biden, meanwhile, spent much of his weekend in South Carolina trying to clarify his comments about political partnerships with long-deceased senators who were notorious segregationists.

PHOTO: Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, greets House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn at the World Famous Fish Fry on Friday, June 21, 2019, in Columbia, S.C. Meg Kinnard/AP
Former Vice President Joe Biden, left, greets House Majority Whip Jim Clyburn at the "World Famous Fish Fry" on Friday, June 21, 2019, in Columbia, S.C.

Sen. Cory Booker isn't accepting Biden's contention that his words were taken out of context, saying a lesson about the power of the word "boy" isn't one a former vice president should be learning now.

"We sometimes tread upon issues that maybe we aren't knowledgeable about," Booker, D-N.J., told "This Week" Co-anchor Martha Raddatz on Sunday.

There is perhaps some irony in Democrats' fighting themselves over issues of race while contending for the right to take on President Donald Trump, given his history of words and actions on the subject.

But Democratic voters and candidates alike are making clear that a vision for the future necessitates an understanding of the past.

The RUNDOWN with MaryAlice Parks

In the days leading up the first Democratic presidential debate, Sen. Elizabeth Warren's team is hoping to put a face to her surge in the polls.

Monday morning Warren's team plans to launch a new website -- "" -- featuring testimonials of voters who, yes, switched to the senator from Massachusetts.

PHOTO: Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) participates in the Black Economic Alliance Forum at the Charleston Music Hall, June 15, 2019, in Charleston, S.C. Sean Rayford/Getty Images
Democratic presidential candidate Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) participates in the Black Economic Alliance Forum at the Charleston Music Hall, June 15, 2019, in Charleston, S.C.

FiveThirtyEight Editor-in-Chief Nate Silver said on ABC News' "This Week" that he would put his money on Warren over Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., to win the nomination.

"Warren right now is hurt by perceptions that she is not electable, that she might have a tough time beating Donald Trump," Silver said. "The thing is, though, that electability concerns can melt away once a candidate begins to show success and gain momentum. So I think she actually has room to grow there."

The TIP with Zohreen Shah

Over the weekend Buttigieg's communications adviser, Lis Smith, tweeted an image of dark clouds looming over an airport, writing in part, "nothing to worry about." It's what you might expect an adviser to say about the current state of the South Bend mayor's presidential campaign: It has been soaring over the last few months, but is now grounded by a downpour of challenges.

Last Sunday night, a white police officer fatally shot an African American man in South Bend, Indiana. Even though the events that led up to the shooting are still under investigation, how Buttigieg handles the incident will now be scrutinized by a national audience, especially considering how he has struggled to connect with the African American community during campaign events.

PHOTO: Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses a town hall in South Bend, Ind., June, 23, 2019. ABC News
Mayor Pete Buttigieg addresses a town hall in South Bend, Ind., June, 23, 2019.

Buttigieg canceled several campaign events to stay in South Bend. Friday night, dozens of community members including those with Black Lives Matter signs, surrounded him as he read through a list of demands and potential solutions. Mourners weren't satisfied by his answers, and a stoic Buttigieg was heckled by an angry crowd.

The fallout continued Sunday afternoon, during a packed town hall where hundreds showed up, many with heartfelt questions about how the presidential hopeful would improve race relations. With no clear answers on how to fix a fractured city, Buttigieg is just four days away from the first Democratic debate, when he will have to prove he can unite an already divided nation.


ABC News' "Start Here" podcast. Monday morning's episode features ABC News Foreign Correspondent James Longman, who checks in from the United Arab Emirates with the latest on tensions between the U.S. and Iran. Then ABC News' Lana Zak explains why planned ICE deportation raids were called off over the weekend, and tells us about an exclusive interview with a lawyer who visited a border processing center and compared the conditions to "torture facilities." And, finally, ABC News White House correspondent Tara Palmeri tells us how racial tensions in South Bend, Indiana, are having an impact on the 2020 race.


  • President Donald Trump participates in a photo opportunity with the 2019 Presidential Scholars at 11 a.m. and then signs an executive order on improving price and quality transparency in health care at 3 p.m. Both events are at the White House.
  • Former Housing and Urban Development Secretary Julian Castro will be available to the media from 9:30 a.m. to 10 a.m. in Miami.
  • Former Rep. Beto O'Rourke, D-Texas, will hold a roundtable discussion with veterans and advocates in Tampa, Florida, at 10 a.m.
  • Washington Gov. Jay Inslee will tour and then speak at Everglades Holiday Park in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, at 11 a.m.
  • Vice President Mike Pence will speak at the Maryland Republican Party's 29th annual Red, White and Blue dinner in Linthicum, Maryland.
  • The House Rules Committee meets on a rule for the SAFE act, securing America's federal elections and the financial services appropriations.
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