Pete Buttigieg is pitching himself as a rare Democrat who can win over GOP voters in a general election, a Midwesterner whose message of national unity and healing can convert President Donald Trump’s supporters into “future former Republicans.”
The phrase is a staple of Buttigieg’s stump speech, usually drawing cheers from his growing crowds. He bolsters it in a new TV ad in Nevada, telling voters his campaign sees “Democrats hungry to win, independent voters who had been turned off by our politics, Republicans tired of trying to look their kids in the eye and explain this presidency, all standing together.”
But national polls suggest Buttigieg doesn’t have much appeal to Republicans in a one-on-one race against Trump, a data point that clashes with an important part of his courtship of Democratic primary voters. Trump retains overwhelming support among Republicans and is cruising to renomination.