James Carville knows exactly why his party lost so badly on Tuesday: “Stupid wokeness.”
That’s the blunt diagnosis of the man who famously guided Bill Clinton to the White House in the early 1990s.
“Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey,” Carville told PBS’ Judy Woodruff. “Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean, this ‘defund the police’ lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools. I mean that — people see that.”
This is not a new view for Carville.
Back in July, in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Carville said the party’s emphasis on “woke” issues was endangering its ability to keep its House and Senate majorities.
“We’re letting a noisy wing of our party define the rest of us. And my point is we can’t do that,” Carville told Cuomo. “I think these people are all kind of nice people. I think they’re very naive, and they’re all into language and identity. And that’s all right. They’re not storming the Capitol. But they’re not winning elections.”
Carville’s argument is that by focusing on removing statues or defunding the police or on proper pronouns for transgender students, Democrats are talking too much about issues that matter less to a broad swath of Americans than, say, the economy.
“Some of these people need to go to a ‘woke’ detox center or something,” Carville told Woodruff. “They’re expressing a language that people just don’t use, and there’s backlash and a frustration at that.”
There’s evidence from Virginia that Carville is on to something. Gov.-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) centered his campaign on alleged wokeness in education – from mask mandates to critical race theory to transgender issues.
And more than half of Virginia voters (51%) said the Democratic Party was “too liberal” in exit polling out of Tuesday’s races. Youngkin won 87% of the vote among that group.
The Point: Carville’s complaints about wokeness have generally been dismissed as the views of a formerly great strategist who is no longer in touch with modern politics. But, after Tuesday, Democrats should bring Carville in and listen to every word he says.