Analysis: James Carville knows * exactly * why Democrats lost on Tuesday


It was the blunt diagnosis of the man who guided Bill Clinton to the White House in the early 1990s.

“Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey,” Carville told PBS’s Judy Woodruff. “Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean, this ‘spending the police’ madness, it takes Abraham Lincoln’s name out of schools. I mean that, people see it.

In July, in an interview with CNN’s Chris Cuomo, Carville said the party’s focus on “awakening” issues jeopardized its ability to retain majorities in the House and Senate.

“We let a loud wing of our party define the rest of us. And what I mean is we can’t do that, ”Carville told Cuomo. “I think these people are all nice people. I think they are very naive and they all like the language and the identity. And it doesn’t matter. They are not storming the Capitol. But they don’t win the election.

Carville’s argument is that by focusing on removing statues or funding police or appropriate pronouns for transgender students, Democrats are talking too much about issues that matter less to a wide range of Americans than, say, the economy.

“Some of these people need to go to a drug rehab center ‘awake’ or something,” Carville told Woodruff. “They are expressing language that people just don’t use, and there is a backlash and frustration to that.”

There is evidence from Virginia that Carville is on to something. Governor-elect Glenn Youngkin (R) has centered his campaign on alleged awakening 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 Tuesday’s race exit polls. Youngkin won 87% of the vote among this group.

Point: Carville’s complaints about awakening have generally been dismissed as the views of a former great strategist who is no longer in touch with modern politics. But, after Tuesday, Democrats are expected to bring Carville in and listen to every word he says.

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