Across the country, the first significant post-2020 races, rightly or wrongly, sent shockwaves to the Democratic Party, a party that not only managed to lose Virginia, but came close to losing New Jersey and of other previously reliable enclaves. Complete and unambiguous losses of this kind always require a complete and fearless self-assessment to plan for the future. In an interview on PBS, James Carville, rightly or wrongly, completely devastated the Democrats’ obsession with “wakefulness”.
Answering Judy Woodruff’s question, “What went wrong?” Carville posed in:
What went wrong was this stupid vigil. Don’t just watch Virginia and New Jersey. Look at long island, look at buffalo, look at Minneapolis, see also Seattle, Washington. I mean, this defund the madness of the police, this’remove Abraham Lincoln’s name from schools, people see it. “
The magnitude of the losses in the blue enclaves could indicate that some aspects of the democratic platform are fundamentally wrong. Once again, rightly or wrongly, Carville was just fidgeting:
“[j]Just let the Democrats pull the pin and watch the grenade explode on them. And we need to change that and not worry change dictionaries, and change the laws. And these people in the faculty room who are mulling over I don’t know what, they’re not working. Look what happened in Buffalo, once again, Seattle, I think the Republicans may have won a race of the city lawyers in Seattle, on autonomous area. Who could even think of something so stupid? “
So, “let the Democrats pull the plug.” It sounds true. This site does not discount anyone in its defense of all marginalized groups, be it Black Americans, immigrants, LGBTQ communities, any group traditionally suppressed by ingrained power. But too often it seems that the democratic warriors for justice are fighting each other in an attempt to prove “I’m smarter than you”, which then becomes a message outside the party.
Carville used the classic example, the “defund the police” meme. Everyone knows that the police in America must be completely overhauled and reformed. In the wake of George Floyd’s death, much of white centrist America agreed. Yet someone within the Democratic Party tried to prove that he or she (or they) were the “smartest” of all and walked away with “defund the police”. If ever there was a more perfectly guaranteed sentence for being indefensible in a political debate and costing elections, hurting the people we intend to help, we haven’t heard it.
Carville has then gotten to the point where there is no arguing, to the extent that something is wrong with the Democratic Party, it ends up hurting those who need help most:
I have news for you ,. You’re ruining the party. You’re hurting the very people you want to help. Terry has been involved – he’s a good friend of mine, he’s a good guy, you know, he’s been involved – in something national, and we have to change that internally, from my point of view.
It sounds true. Too often it seems that the most active in democratic politics spend more time proving that they are the “most liberal”, “smartest”, truest democrats than others and we lose sight of our main mission, which is to do the greatest possible good for the greatest number of Americans, often groups that are never represented. Carville may not be entirely right, but he’s right enough to take a look at ourselves.
Democrats have the most popular economic agendas and have shown that supporting women’s rights and LGBTQ rights can change a nation for the better almost overnight (so why not others?) Folks, we tend to get into these feuds. within the party that even President Obama has called.
Proven political professionals should be the ones in charge of the real dissection on any meaning for the 2021 outcome, but an obvious first step would seem to be to end the feuds within the party over “who is the best democrat”, progressives or centrists. Without Trump playing the evil alternative, Democrats must go back to being the “best” alternative (rather than trying to define what is “best”), or – as Carville said, we will only hurt those we seek. to help.
Jason Miciak is a political writer, features writer, author and lawyer. He is originally from Canada but grew up in the Pacific Northwest as a Canadian-American citizen, for which he is more and more grateful every day. Now he enjoys the life of a single father, writing from the beaches of the Gulf coast, receiving advice from his beloved daughter and teammate. He is truly the mystical dreamer who cannot add and loves dogs more than most people. He also enjoys studying cooking, theoretical physics, cosmology and quantum mechanics. He likes pizza.
Please visit his Substack Newsletter, get the first month for free: Much Ado About Everything: by Jason Miciak