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Saturday, February 08, 2020

Now I'm Confused

Ol' Snakehead speaks...

Will the real James Carville please stand up?

Raw Story:

He began by dismissing the significance of the recent Gallup poll showing Trump at 49 percent approval.

“Yeah, yeah, come on. Let’s start from the beginning here,” said Carville. “All right, let’s have the election before we announce the results. That’s always a good idea. Number two, you can go through any — and you got — one poll outside — if you look at the polling average, it’s not that great. 55 percent of the people in this country don’t want Donald Trump to be president. It is up to the Democratic Party to provide that nominee that fills in that 55 percent.”

Sean Illing

Why are you “scared to death” about the 2020 election?

James Carville

Look, the turnout in the Iowa caucus was below what we expected, what we wanted. Trump’s approval rating is probably as high as it’s been. This is very bad. And now it appears the party can’t even count votes. What the hell am I supposed to think?  Although I agree with him about this:

James Carville

We have candidates on the debate stage talking about open borders and decriminalizing illegal immigration. They’re talking about doing away with nuclear energy and fracking. You’ve got Bernie Sanders talking about letting criminals and terrorists vote from jail cells. It doesn’t matter what you think about any of that, or if there are good arguments — talking about that is not how you win a national election. It’s not how you become a majoritarian party.

For fuck’s sake, we’ve got Trump at Davos talking about cutting Medicare and no one in the party has the sense to plaster a picture of him up there sucking up to the global elites, talking about cutting taxes for them while he’s talking about cutting Medicare back home. Jesus, this is so obvious and so easy and I don’t see any of the candidates taking advantage of it.

The Republicans have destroyed their party and turned it into a personality cult, but if anyone thinks they can’t win, they’re out of their damn minds. 

Well, and about this, too:

James Carville

Look, Bernie Sanders isn’t a Democrat. He’s never been a Democrat. He’s an ideologue. And I’ve been clear about this: If Bernie is the nominee, I’ll vote for him. No question. I’ll take an ideological fanatic over a career criminal any day. But he’s not a Democrat.

Sean Illing

You know people are going to read this and say, “Carville backed Clinton in 2016. So did the Democratic establishment. They blew it in 2016. Why should I care what any of them think now?”

James Carville

People will say anything. And first of all, Clinton won the popular vote by almost 3 million. And secondly, the Russians put Jill Stein in front of Clinton’s campaign to depress votes. And thirdly, the New York Times a week before an election, assured its readers that the Russians were not even trying to help Trump. And then they wrote 15,000 stories about Hillary’s emails.

But back to Sanders — what I’m saying is the Democratic Party isn’t Bernie Sanders, whatever you think about Sanders.

Sean Illing

A lot of threads there. First, a lot of people don’t trust the Democratic Party, don’t believe in the party, for reasons you’ve already mentioned, and so they just don’t care about that. They want change. And I guess the other thing I’d say is, 2016 scrambled our understanding of what’s possible in American politics.

Are we really sure Sanders can’t win?

James Carville

Who the hell knows? But here’s what I do know: Sanders might get 280 electoral votes and win the presidency and maybe we keep the House. But there’s no chance in hell we’ll ever win the Senate with Sanders at the top of the party defining it for the public. Eighteen percent of the country elects more than half of our senators. That’s the deal, fair or not.

So long as [Mitch] McConnell runs the Senate, it’s game over. There’s no chance we’ll change the courts, and nothing will happen, and he’ll just be sitting up there screaming in the microphone about the revolution.

The purpose of a political party is to acquire power. All right? Without power, nothing matters.

Okay, and this, too:

“The Republicans laugh at us because they ran through every issue that people don’t like, from giving tax breaks to rich people to ignoring climate. He went to Davos, Donald Trump went to Davos and said he wanted to cut Medicare, and where’s the discussion about this? But all I hear from — ‘oh, he’s so powerful.’ Why don’t we go out there? Why don’t they cover that he went to Davos to talk to all of these global elites and after he gave them all trillion dollars tax cuts, he said I’m going to get the money by cutting Medicare for people back in the United States. And the Democratic Party is too stupid to say anything about it, and the press is so worried about the horse race that they don’t even report it.”

“So we’re going to get in the middle of this thing,” said Carville. “We’re going to do an intervention and Sen. Bennet, we’re going to come out of here strong.”
Not sure I agree Michael Bennett is our savior; but Carville is right, we win with a person, not an idea.  Other than that minor caveat,  I agree with all of it, including this:

Sean Illing

So your complaint is basically that the party has tacked too far to the left?

James Carville

They’ve tacked off the damn radar screen. And look, I don’t consider myself a moderate or a centrist. I’m a liberal. But not everything has to be on the left-right continuum. I love Warren’s day care plan just like I love Booker’s baby bonds. That’s the kind of stuff our candidates should explain and define clearly and repeatedly for voters and not get diverted by whatever the hell is in the air that day.

Here’s another stupid thing: Democrats talking about free college tuition or debt forgiveness. I’m not here to debate the idea. What I can tell you is that people all over this country worked their way through school, sent their kids to school, paid off student loans. They don’t want to hear this shit. And you saw Warren confronted by an angry voter over this. It’s just not a winning message.

The real argument here is that some people think there’s a real yearning for a left-wing revolution in this country, and if we just appeal to the people who feel that, we’ll grow and excite them and we’ll win. But there’s a word a lot of people hate that I love: politics. It means building coalitions to win elections. It means sometimes having to sit back and listen to what people think and framing your message accordingly.

That’s all I care about. Right now the most important thing is getting this career criminal who’s stealing everything that isn’t nailed down out of the White House. We can’t do anything for anyone if we don’t start there and then acquire more power.

Can I say one more thing about the cultural disconnect?

Sean Illing


James Carville

I want to give you an example of the problem here. A few weeks ago, Binyamin Appelbaum, an economics writer for the New York Times, posted a snarky tweet about how LSU canceled classes for the National Championship game. And then he said, do the “Warren/Sanders free public college proposals include LSU, or would it only apply to actual schools?”

You know how fucking patronizing that is to people in the South or in the middle of the country? First, LSU has an unusually high graduation rate, but that’s not the point. It’s the goddamn smugness. This is from a guy who lives in New York and serves on the Times editorial board and there’s not a single person he knows that doesn’t pat him on the back for that kind of tweet. He’s so fucking smart.

Appelbaum doesn’t speak for the Democratic Party, but he does represent the urbanist mindset. We can’t win the Senate by looking down at people. The Democratic Party has to drive a narrative that doesn’t give off vapors that we’re smarter than everyone or culturally arrogant.

I will pause here to say that I paid $4 a semester hour for state college, all the way through graduate school at the University of Texas at Austin.  I remember when the colleges persuaded the Legislature to let tuition rise.  It was a mistake then, and we should go back on it, now.  College wasn't free, but I paid more for books than I did for tuition.  Carville is right, though;  you preach that now, and a lot of people hear "Something free I couldn't have," and that's the end of that discussion.  In fact, I agree with Carville all the way to the end.

James Carville

Mayor Pete has to demonstrate over the course of a campaign that he can excite and motivate arguably the most important constituents in the Democratic Party: African Americans. These voters are a hell of a lot more important than a bunch of 25-year-olds shouting everyone down on Twitter.

Sean Illing

I take all your points about power and the Senate and the need to be a majoritarian party. I just wonder where the limits are, especially in this media ecosystem where even the best Democratic messaging gets deformed and bastardized in right-wing media and thus never reaches the people Democrats need to reach, or at least doesn’t reach enough of them.

James Carville

I think the other side wants us to think there are no swing voters, that we’re doomed and it doesn’t even matter if you have a message because you can’t reach anyone. I think that’s bullshit. I think that’s a wholly incorrect view of American politics. But look, if no one’s persuadable, then let’s just have the revolution.

Falling into despair won’t help anyone, though. I mean, you can curse the darkness or you can light a candle. I’m getting a fucking welding torch. Okay?

What confuses me, it turns out, are headlines.  Screw headlines.  I'm with Carville, and I'm gettin' my fuckin' welding torch.  Okay?


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