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

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

Democratic presidential candidate Pete ButtigiegPete ButtigiegSenate confirms Vilsack as Agriculture secretary Biden to detail 'roadmap' for partnership with Canada in meeting with Trudeau Biden's infrastructure plan needs input from cities and regions MORE on Monday said that his party needs to “galvanize” voters, rather than “polarize” them in order to defeat President TrumpDonald TrumpSenators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Democratic fury with GOP explodes in House Georgia secretary of state withholds support for 'reactionary' GOP voting bills 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 SandersKlain says Harris would not overrule parliamentarian on minimum wage increase Romney-Cotton, a Cancun cabbie and the minimum wage debate On The Money: Senate panels postpone Tanden meetings in negative sign | Biden signs supply chain order after 'positive' meeting with lawmakers MORE (I-Vt.) and Elizabeth WarrenElizabeth WarrenBecerra says he wants to 'build on' ObamaCare when pressed on Medicare for All Yellen deputy Adeyemo on track for quick confirmation Menendez reintroduces corporate diversity bill 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 BidenKlain on Manchin's objection to Neera Tanden: He 'doesn't answer to us at the White House' Senators given no timeline on removal of National Guard, Capitol fence Overnight Defense: New Senate Armed Services chairman talks Pentagon policy nominee, Afghanistan, more | Biden reads report on Khashoggi killing | Austin stresses vaccine safety in new video MORE, the leading moderate in the field. 

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On Sunday, Buttigieg told CNN’s Jake TapperJacob (Jake) Paul TapperEx-Trump press secretary criticized for stirring up QAnon on Twitter Maryland GOP governor says he would have voted to convict Trump Democratic senator defends decision not to call witnesses: 'They weren't going to get more Republican votes' 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.