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

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

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegBillionaire who donated to Trump in 2016 donates to Biden The Hill's Morning Report - Sponsored by Facebook - GOP closes ranks to fill SCOTUS vacancy by November Buttigieg stands in as Pence for Harris's debate practice MORE on Monday said that his party needs to “galvanize” voters, rather than “polarize” them in order to defeat President TrumpDonald John TrumpNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Ocasio-Cortez: Trump contributed less in taxes 'than waitresses and undocumented immigrants' Third judge orders Postal Service to halt delivery cuts 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.” 

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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 SandersNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose The role (un)happiness plays in how people vote MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Democrats blast Trump after report reveals he avoided income taxes for 10 years: 'Disgusting' Overnight Defense: Appeals court revives House lawsuit against military funding for border wall | Dems push for limits on transferring military gear to police | Lawmakers ask for IG probe into Pentagon's use of COVID-19 funds 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 BidenNew Biden campaign ad jabs at Trump's reported 0 income tax payments Biden campaign sells 'I paid more income taxes than Trump' stickers Trump, Biden have one debate goal: Don't lose MORE, the leading moderate in the field. 

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On Sunday, Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperJill Biden shuts down Jake Tapper's question about husband's 'occasional gaffe' The media's misleading use of COVID-19 data Julia Louis-Dreyfus: 'We can't spend much time grieving' Ginsburg 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.