Buttigieg says Democrats must 'galvanize,' not 'polarize' voters

Buttigieg says Democrats must 'galvanize,' not 'polarize' voters
© Greg Nash

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegReuters poll finds Sanders cutting Biden national lead to single digits Biden says he'll adopt plans from Sanders, Warren Buttigieg guest-hosts for Jimmy Kimmel: 'I've got nothing else going on' MORE on Monday said that his party needs to “galvanize” voters, rather than “polarize” them in order to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Maxine Waters unleashes over Trump COVID-19 response: 'Stop congratulating yourself! You're a failure' Meadows resigns from Congress, heads to White House MORE in November. 

His comments, made in a CNN interview the morning of the Iowa caucus, expand on Buttigieg's pitch that he'll be able to turn out support in the party, as well as from independent voters and what he calls “future former Republicans.” 

“We've got to make sure that we are ready to galvanize and not polarize an American majority that is actually strikingly aligned, not just on being against Donald Trump but on what we're for," Buttigieg, the former mayor of South Bend, Ind., said in an appearance on CNN’s “New Day.” 

ADVERTISEMENT

CNN’s John Berman had asked him if there’s a candidate who could win the caucuses but also have a hard time defeating Trump. 

"Most Americans, even in conservative states right now, want to see higher wages, want to see corporations paying their fair share in taxes,” Buttigieg said. “Even issues that have been very divisive in the past and tough for our party, like immigration and guns, are with us." 

Buttigieg is running a more moderate campaign compared to the leading progressives in the field, Sens. Bernie SandersBernie SandersTop Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden Poll: Biden leads Sanders by 22 points GE employees urge company to use laid-off workers to make ventilators MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenDemocratic senators ask Pompeo to provide coronavirus aid to Palestinian territories Seth Meyers returning to late-night TV with 'hybrid episodes' Biden tops Trump by 9 points in Fox News poll MORE (D-Mass.). 

Although Buttigieg offered support for a Medicare for All plan in 2018, as a candidate, he has split with progressive rivals on key issues, including calling for a health care plan that would allow Americans to keep their private insurance if they choose.

In the days leading up to the caucuses, Buttigieg has directly taken on Sanders as well as former Vice President Joe BidenJoe BidenCuomo grilled by brother about running for president: 'No. no' Top Democratic super PACs team up to boost Biden The Hill's Campaign Report: Trump, Biden spar over coronavirus response MORE, the leading moderate in the field. 

ADVERTISEMENT

On Sunday, Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperCNN's Jake Tapper spars with Trump on Twitter: 'Utter nonsense' Biden says he has not been tested for coronavirus: I've had 'no symptoms' Biden says Democratic convention should not be canceled amid pandemic MORE he is “better positioned to beat Donald Trump” than any of his competitors and dodged when asked if Sanders and Biden would be able to defeat Trump. 

Buttigieg claimed Sanders’s message of a political revolution may be polarizing for many Americans, adding that Democrats “can’t afford to polarize,” and claiming it’s not true that voters have to choose between Sanders’s so-called revolution and the status quo.

On Biden, Buttigieg pointed to Democrats' history of winning with candidates that are “new in national politics.”

-- Updated at 12:27 p.m.