Across the country, the first significant races post-2020, rightly or wrongly, sent shockwaves through the Democratic party, a party that not only managed to lose Virginia, but came close to losing New Jersey, and other formerly reliably blue enclaves. Thorough and unequivocal losses of this type always require a complete and fearless self-evaluation in order to plan going forward. In an interview on PBS, James Carville, rightly or wrongly, utterly devastated the Democrats’ obsession with “wokeness.”
In answering Judy Woodruff’s question, “What went wrong?” Carville laid in:
What went wrong was this stupid wokeness. Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. 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 schools, people see that.”
The breadth of losses in blue enclaves could indicate that some aspect of the Democratic platform is fundamentally wrong. Again, rightly or wrongly, Carville was just getting worked up:
“[j]ust let the Democrats pull the pin and watch the grenade go off on them. And we’ve got to change this and not be about changing dictionaries, and change laws. And these faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don’t know what, they’re not working. Look what happened in Buffalo, again, Seattle, I think the Republicans may have won a city attorney’s race in Seattle, the autonomous zone. Who could even think of something that stupid?”
So, “let the Democrats pull the pin.” It rings true. This site defers to none in its defense of all marginalized groups, whether it is Black Americans, immigrants, the LGBTQ community, any group traditionally suppressed by entrenched power. But too often it does seem like Democratic warriors for justice are warring amongst themselves in an attempt to prove “I’m more woke than you,” which then becomes a message outside the party.
Carville used the classic example, the “defund the police” meme. Everyone knows that policing in America needs to be utterly overhauled and reformed. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, much of centrist White America agreed. And yet someone within the Democratic party sought to prove that he or she (or they) were the “wokest” of all and went with “defund the police.” If there was ever a phrase more perfectly guaranteed to be indefensible in a political debate and cost elections, hurting the people we mean to help, we haven’t heard it.
Carville then got around to the point at which there can be no argument, To the extent that something is wrong within the Democratic party, it ends up hurting those who need the help most:
I’ve got news for you,. You’re hurting the party. You’re hurting the very people you want to help. Terry got caught up – he’s a good friend of mine, he’s a good guy, you know, he got caught up – in something national, and we’ve got to change this internally, in my view.
It rings true. Too often it seems that those most active within Democratic politics spend more time attempting to prove that they’re the “more liberal,” “more woke,” more true Democratic than the others and we lose sight of our core mission, which is to do the maximum amount of good possible for the maximum amount of Americans, often groups that are never represented. Carville may not be entirely right, but he’s right enough to take a hard look at ourselves.
Democrats have the most popular economic programs and have shown that support for women’s rights and LGBTQ rights can change a nation for the better almost overnight (So why not others?) and yet instead of concentrating upon those things that really do the most for the most people, we tend to enter these intra-party feuds that even President Obama has called out.
Proven political pros should be the ones tasked with the real dissection as to any meaning to the 2021 result, But one obvious first step would seem to be to end the intra-party feuds as to “who is the better Democrat,” the progressives or the centrists. Without Trump playing the evil alternative, Democrats must go back to being the “better” alternative (rather than attempting to define what is “best”), or – as Carville said, we’ll do nothing more than hurt those we seek to help.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author, and attorney. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a dual Canadian-American citizen, which he grows increasingly thankful for every day. He now enjoys life as a single dad, writing from the beaches of the Gulf Coast, getting advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is very much the dreamy mystic that cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also likes studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology, and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
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