2020 contender Pete Buttigieg said on Monday that Democrats must "galvanize and not polarize" American voters ahead of Iowa's first-in-the-nation caucuses that will be the first test this year between the progressive and moderate lanes of the Democratic Party.
"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 told CNN's John Berman on "New Day" when asked if there was a candidate who could win the caucuses but also have a hard time beating the President in the 2020 election.
"Most Americans, even in conservative states right now, want to see higher wages, want to see corporations paying their fair share in taxes. Even issues that have been very divisive in the past and tough for our party, like immigration and guns, are with us," the former South Bend, Indiana, mayor said.
Buttigieg, a moderate, also set himself apart from Sen. Bernie Sanders, one of the most progressive candidates in the race, highlighting the divide between the two lanes of the party and making the case that a moderate candidate is the most well positioned to take on Trump in the general election. Buttigieg said the Vermont Democrat's message is, "'Hey, it's either status quo or revolution.'"
"What I'm offering is something that I think more people can see where they fit, from dyed-in-the-wool Democrats to independents to these, I like to call them, future former Republicans who come to my events," Buttigieg said.
"I'm not trying to trick them. I'm not telling them that I'm any more conservative than I plan to govern. I'm clear about our policies," he continued. "We understand even if we're not going to agree on everything, we can agree on the need for a change and we can agree on the sense of belonging that we could be creating in our general election campaign and in the White House."
Buttigieg has been closing out his campaign in the state by focusing on his ability to win over disaffected Republicans who backed Trump in 2016, his campaign told CNN last week, hoping that Democrats who are hellbent on defeating Trump in November will be wooed by a candidate who can eat into the President's support.
He has spent more than $10 million in radio, television and digital ads in Iowa since January 1.