Democratic operative and consultant James Carville has blasted his own party, saying that so-called “wokeness” is a big “problem” that everyone is aware of and which could damage their chances to retain power moving forward.
“Wokeness is a problem and we all know it,” he told Vox in an interview published Tuesday.
Referring to former President Donald Trump as a “world-class buffoon,” Carville nevertheless admitted that President Joe Biden narrowly defeated him in key battleground states while Democrats in general lost congressional seats to Republicans and lost ground in statehouses around the country.
Praising Biden generally and saying the president doesn’t get into “faculty lounge” politics, Carville went on to explain that left-wing elites, on college campuses in particular, do not have an ability to connect with ordinary Americans.
“You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like ‘Latinx’ that no one else uses,” he said. “Or they use a phrase like ‘communities of color.’ I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a ‘community of color.’ I know lots of white and black and brown people and they all live in … neighborhoods.
“There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not,” Carville, who managed President Bill Clinton’s first campaign in 1992, added.
Carville said the problem isn’t talking about subjects like racial justice, it is more the manner in which the subject is discussed.
“What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This ‘too cool for school’ s**t doesn’t work, and we have to stop it,” he said.
He went on to say that while there is a faction within the Democratic Party that likes to use that kind of lingo, most don’t.
“And beyond that, if Democrats want power, they have to win in a country where 18 percent of the population controls 52 percent of the Senate seats. That’s a fact. That’s not changing. That’s what this whole damn thing is about,” said Carville.
Vox correspondent Sean Illing asked if Carville’s real problem is with “wokeness.”
“Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud,” he said.
Asked to explain why, Carville said Democrats remain silent out of fear.
“Because they’ll get clobbered or canceled. And look, part of the problem is that lots of Democrats will say that we have to listen to everybody and we have to include every perspective, or that we don’t have to run a ruthless messaging campaign. Well, you kinda do. It really matters,” he said.
“I always tell people that we’ve got to stop speaking Hebrew and start speaking Yiddish. We have to speak the way regular people speak, the way voters speak. It ain’t complicated. That’s how you connect and persuade. And we have to stop allowing ourselves to be defined from the outside,” Carville added.
He went on to claim that Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) is wiser and more credible than her GOP rival, Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, but that many of ‘AOC’s’ policies are not likely to be enacted because they are far outside the mainstream.
Carville also pushed back on the notion that Democrats are going to be portrayed as Socialists no matter what so they should simply run on those platforms.
“…[W]e can’t say, ‘Republicans are going to call us socialists no matter what, so let’s just run as out-and-out socialists.’ That’s not the smartest thing to do. And maybe tweeting that we should abolish the police isn’t the smartest thing to do because almost f**king no one wants to do that,” he said.
“Here’s the deal: No matter how you look at the map, the only way Democrats can hold power is to build on their coalition, and that will have to include more rural white voters from across the country. Democrats are never going to win a majority of these voters. That’s the reality. But the difference between getting beat 80 to 20 and 72 to 28 is all the difference in the world,” he said. “So they just have to lose by less — that’s all.”
Later, Carville suggested that Democrats push back harder on Republicans in Congress, citing a recent example of Rep. Maxine Waters of California telling Ohio Republican Rep. Jim Jordon “shut your mouth” during a recent raucous hearing in which the latter grilled Dr. Anthony Fauci.
He went on to say that states like Florida are in play for Democrats, pointing to recent ballot initiatives such as allowing former felons to vote again and increasing the minimum wage to $15 an hour.
“Has anyone in the Democratic Party said maybe there’s nothing wrong with the state of Florida? Maybe the problem is the kind of campaigns we’re running?”
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