Buttigieg: I'm a capitalist, but 'democracy is more important' than capitalism

Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegThe Hill's Morning Report - Presented by Facebook - The choice: Biden-Harris vs. Trump-Pence California Democrats back Yang after he expresses disappointment over initial DNC lineup Obamas, Clintons to headline Biden's nominating convention MORE, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., and likely 2020 Democratic presidential candidate, said Sunday that he is a capitalist but added that "democracy is more important" than capitalism.

During an interview on NBC's "Meet the Press," Buttigieg warned that "democratic capitalism" is "slipping away" from the U.S.

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"America is a capitalist society. But it's got to be democratic capitalism. And that part's really important. And it's slipping away from us. In other words, when capitalism comes into tension with democracy, which is more important to you? I believe democracy is more important," he said.

Democratic presidential candidates have faced questions over whether they consider themselves capitalists as some popular members of the party have identified as democratic socialists. 

Buttigieg on Sunday also pointed to Russia as an example of a country that has allowed capitalism to overwhelm democracy, something he described as "crony capitalism."

"When you have capitalism capturing democracy, when you have the kind of regulatory capture where powerful corporations are able to arrange the rules for their benefit, that's not real capitalism. If you want to see what happens when you have capitalism without democracy, you can see it very clearly in Russia," he said.

"It turns into crony capitalism. And that turns into oligarchy," Buttigieg added.