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Tag: james carville

Across America, The Vast Majority Of Democrats Reject 'Woke' Excess

To hear some people tell it, the Democratic Party is overrun with far-left culture warriors preaching “identity politics” and what Kevin Drum calls “semi-insane levels of wokeness.”

No less an eminence than James Carville, the political consultant, recently sounded off on the theme to a New York Times columnist. Democrats, he warned, need to shed the image of being an “urban, coastal, arrogant party” indulging in “faculty lounge politics” and employing racialized code words like “Latinx” which no normal person of any ethnicity uses.

Do such persons exist? Absolutely. And many inhabit college liberal arts departments, where being persnickety about “gendered” language can reach near-comical levels. I’ll not soon forget being scolded from the audience at a college talk for using the word “murderess” to describe a character in my book Widow’s Web who’d committed two homicides.

So, is “murderer” an honorific, I wondered? (Indeed, I’d argue that “murderess” is a far stronger word, as it’s men that do most of the killing. Or would have argued, if the point had been worth making, which under the circumstances, it wasn’t.)

But I digress: Back to crackpot Democrats. Washington Post opinion writer Matt Bai recently published a column pronouncing himself “utterly repulsed from the mainstream of both parties”—Republicans because they’ve become “more a celebrity fan club than a political organization” that “would, if left to its own devices, destroy the foundation of the republic.”

And, Democrats because they’ve become what he calls “arbiters of language… constantly issuing Soviet-style edicts about which terms are acceptable and which aren’t…a tactic used for controlling the debate and delegitimizing critics.”

So one party’s gone fascist, while the other calls people bad names. And these things are equally objectionable?

Sounds like somebody’s been getting ugly emails.

Bai argues that by embracing the politics of racial identity, Democrats have become a sort of mirror image of white supremacists: “instead of trying to restore some obsolete notion of a White-dominated society, they seek vengeance under the guise of virtue.”

And this, in turn, means that persons like himself, indeed “the broad center of the American electorate--traditional conservatives and liberals both—no longer [have] a political home.”

To which my response is: Does this guy even read the newspapers? Because on the planet where I live, things basically work like this: Democrats reject extremists and vote them out; the other guys embrace them.

Take, for example, the single dumbest political slogan in recent American history: “Defund the Police.” Have Democrats, broadly speaking, endorsed it?

Well, President Joe Biden hasn’t. Quite the opposite. As Eric Levitz points out in New York magazine:

“Through the American Rescue Plan, Biden sent $350 billion in fiscal aid to states and cities. He then encouraged municipalities to invest those funds into expanding police departments. Nearly half of America’s 20 largest cities have followed Biden’s advice.”

In the wake of George Floyd’s murder, heavily Democratic Minneapolis put the question on the ballot. A proposal to replace the city’s police department with a “Department of Public Safety” lost decisively.

Even more reliably Democratic New York City has recently elected a new mayor: an ex-cop of the African-American persuasion who promises sterner and more efficient law enforcement everywhere he goes.

Which appears to be exactly what the Black community, broadly speaking, supports. Although most have few illusions about police brutality, it’s Black neighborhoods that bear the brunt of wild-west style shootouts in the streets between groups of armed hoodlums. Calling preachers and social workers rarely helps over the short term. Crusading lawyers on CNN denouncing everybody as racists aren’t much practical use either.

Sometimes, you’ve just got to call the cops. What’s needed aren’t fewer police officers, but more and better ones. The great majority of Democratic voters understand that.

Or consider San Francisco, Nancy Pelosi’s hometown and as loyally Democratic a constituency as exists in the USA. Voters there just removed three almost comically “woke” school board members in a recall election by margins of more than seventy percent.

Chinese-American voters in particular grew angry with a board which kept San Francisco schools closed due to Covid while schools opened successfully all across the country; which changed admissions policy at a prestigious high school from merit to a lottery (thereby removing the “prestige” part altogether); and which changed the names of schools commemorating George Washington and Abraham Lincoln, among other “racist” offenders.

‘It’s hard to escape the conclusion that a lot of San Franciscans have climbed off the woke bandwagon—or were never wholeheartedly on it” writes Gary Kamiya in The Atlantic.

In short, far from showing that Democratic voters even in liberal inner sanctums are eager to practice Carville’s feared “faculty lounge” politics, it proves the exact opposite. Maybe the party’s biggest problem isn’t so much its policies or its rank and file voters as the way people talk about it.

James Carville Vows To Raise Funds For Sinema Primary Challenger

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville, sounding a lot like Real Time host Bill Maher, has been cautioning Democrats against being too “woke” or moving too far to the left in the 2022 midterms. But the 77-year-old Carville, in a surprising move, is now saying that he will fundraise for a Democratic primary challenger to Sen. Kyrsten Sinema of Arizona in 2024 — specifically, Rep. Ruben Gallego.

In the U.S. Senate, two centrist Democrats who have been frequent obstacles to President Joe Biden’s economic agenda have been Sinema and Sen. Joe Manchin of West Virginia. Carville, during an interview with Vox published on January 27, was more critical of Sinema than of Manchin.

Carville told Vox, “Understand that Joe Manchin is a Roman Catholic Democrat in a state in which not a single county has voted Democrat (for president) since 2008. I repeat: not a single county has voted Democrat since 2008…. If Manchin runs for reelection, I’ll do everything I can to help him…. Now, the situation with Sinema in Arizona is an entirely different situation.”

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

New Report Depicts Trump Voters As ‘Angry, Despondent, Powerless’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville, who has been married to conservative consultant Mary Matalin since 1993, has long said that in order to defeat Republicans, Democrats need to understand where their voters are coming from. That includes Donald Trump supporters, who Carville and fellow Democratic strategist Stan Greenberg examined via some focus groups in March.

Carville and Greenberg are the leaders of Democracy Corps, a Democratic polling/research organization. Although its primary goal is to help Democrats win elections, Democracy Corps sometimes studies GOP voters in order to determine why they vote the way they do — its Republican Party Project has been studying trends among the GOP electorate. And in March, Democracy Corps used focus groups to compare diehard Trump voters with "non-Trump conservatives and moderates."

In a March 26 report, Democracy Corps explained, "We conducted focus groups in March with Trump loyalists in Georgia and Wisconsin and Trump-aligned, non-Trump conservatives and moderates in suburban and rural Georgia, Ohio and Wisconsin. It took a long time to recruit these groups because Trump voters seemed particularly distrustful of outsiders right now, wary of being victimized, and avoided revealing their true position until in a Zoom room with all Trump voters — then, they let it all out."

Democracy Corps found that "the Trump loyalists and Trump-aligned were angry, but also, despondent, feeling powerless and uncertain they will become more involved in politics…. The Trump loyalists and the Trump-aligned are animated about government taking away their freedom and a cancel culture that leaves no place for White Americans and the fear they're losing 'their' country to non-Whites."

Democracy Corps also found that "Trump loyalists and the Trump- aligned" were "angered most of all by Black Lives Matter (BLM) and Antifa" and believe those movements "were responsible for a full year of violence in Democratic cities that put White people on the defensive — and was ignored by the media."

Meanwhile, Democracy Corps found "the non-Trump conservatives and moderates bloc" to be "marginally smaller but vocal in opposition to Trump's direction and animated by his alienation of non-Republicans, the extremism, the 2nd Amendment and guns, and role of government and more."

During the 2020 election, President Joe Biden enjoyed a broad range of support. Everyone from progressive Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York City to prominent conservatives like Cindy McCain, former Sen. Jeff Flake, and columnist Mona Charen endorsed him. But diehard Trump voters were bitterly disappointed that he lost the election, and Democracy Corps' focus groups found that they are in a state of total despair.

Democracy Corps explained, "They felt powerless to reverse these important national political decisions, and frustrated that their divided party failed to act with the same determination and unity as the Democrats. They believed Democrats were smarter, rigged the election, had a plan to grow their support, and stuck to their guns — unlike the fickle Republican leaders who gave up on Trump."

Democracy Corps found that the "Trump loyalist" voters didn't feel threatened by Biden himself the way they felt threatened by President Barack Obama — as Biden is a White male in his late seventies. But they viewed Biden as a puppet of the far left. Meanwhile, the "non-Trump conservatives and moderates" expressed a willingness to give Biden a chance.

"The moderates and non-Trump conservatives are just 30 percent of their party, but it makes clear how divided the Republican Party is," Democracy Corps explained. "They know they are a minority, but events since the 2020 election are forcing them to challenge Trump and his party."

Democracy Corps concluded its report on the focus groups by stressing that opponents of Trumpism need to understand the divisions among conservatives.

"Forestalling the worst scenarios and empowering those intent on marginalizing a Trump-dominated Republican Party begins with understanding its new factions and what motivates them," Democracy Corps concluded. "These first focus groups provide rich insights into an angry, despondent and divided party. And Democracy Corps hopes to use these groups and innovative survey methodologies to understand this Trump-dominated party and all its factions and provide its opponents with the tools they need to defeat it."

Carville Predicts Broad Patriotic Front Will Bring Trump’s ‘Catastrophic Defeat’

Reprinted with permission from Alternet

James Carville is not known for his contributions to right-wing websites. But politics make strange bedfellows, and the veteran Democratic strategist finds some common ground with Never Trump Republicans in an October 15 article for the conservative website The Bulwark — arguing, in essence, that conservatives, liberals and centrists all have a mutual interest in removing President Donald Trump from office on Tuesday, November 3.

"Donald Trump's authoritarian presence behind the Resolute Desk is amongst the gravest threats America has ever faced from within," the 75-year-old Carville stresses. "And Americans have risen to meet this threat."

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New Poll: Democracy Corps Says Clinton Boasts ‘Commanding’ 12-Point Lead

In a final survey before Election Day, Democracy Corps finds Hillary Clinton with a “commanding 12-point lead” over Donald Trump. The national poll of 900 likely voters by the Greenberg, Quinlan & Rosner firm shows Clinton moving up to 50 percent of the vote, well ahead of Trump’s 38 percent, while Libertarian Gary Johnson gets only five percent and Green Party candidate Jill Stein remains stuck at two percent.

According to Democracy Corps, a nonprofit led by James Carville and Stan Greenberg, Clinton’s dominant position is the product of both historic voting patterns and a “breathtakingly unpopular Republican Party” led by Trump, as well as rising approval numbers for President Obama.

But Greenberg also told The National Memo that Clinton’s “impressive performance” in the debates and afterward had “brought down her negatives,” reassuring voters that her presidency would be “good for middle-class families and the economy.”

Although Trump still leads among white working class males, his advantage in that group is slightly lower than the lead held by Mitt Romney in 2012. Among independents, white college-educated males, and seniors, Trump is roughly even with Clinton — while she leads by wide margins among all women, white college-educated women, millennial voters, and suburban voters, In each of those groups her margin over Trump exceeds 20 points.

Greenberg emphasized that Clinton’s “emerging landslide” could turn 2016 into a wave election that does grave damage to Republicans in down-ballot Congressional and legislative races. The Democracy Corps poll included “a simulated contest where the Republican congressional candidates argue they are needed as an independent check on Clinton” and Democrats respond with a sharp counter-attack. The simulation showed Democrats moving into a nine-point lead on Congressional ballots, the cusp of a party turnover in the House of Representatives; and in that circumstance, Democratic control of the Senate would be assured.

While it is just one poll, the Democracy Corps projection deserves particular consideration for one simple reason: Greenberg and his team at GQR got the popular vote result in 2012 exactly right, missing by only a tenth of a percentage point. Their final survey predicted that President Obama would win by 3.8 percent; the final count had him up by 3.9 percent. As former GQR staffer Erica Seifert observed in a post for National Memo in December 2012:

Our final Democracy Corps poll (completed two days before Election Day) showed the race 49 to 45 percent –an unrounded margin of 3.8 points.  With other public polls still showing the race tied or Romney ahead, our poll was an outlier.

We were so confident in our results, we put our reputations on the line in the waning days of the campaign.  We were confident we had it right because we believed that the national poll tracking averages were likely underrepresenting Obama’s vote.  The main issue was cell phones and the changing demographics that most other pollsters miscalculated.   Those pollsters did not reach the new America.

In this cycle, however, the Democracy Corps poll is not such a lonely outlier. Most national polls now show Clinton with a substantial lead of five points or more — and the ABC News tracking poll, which was the second most accurate in 2012, also places Clinton at 50 percent and Trump at 38 percent. In fact, the ABC News results, based on a survey of 874 likely voters, are strikingly similar to those reported by Democracy Corps.

Discussing the reasons behind the results, Greenberg said that “Trump has driven away college-educated voters so he is only even with white college-educated men” — a group that is usually very reliable for the GOP candidate. And because the Republican nominee is also “only [running] even among seniors, he has none of the conservative base that a normal Republican would have.”

Despite her “stunning numbers” among college-educated and unmarried women, Greenberg added, there is still room for Clinton to “consolidate her support among Democrats,” where is still below the level of partisan support reached by Obama in 2012. “She is around 90 percent with Democrats and getting about two-thirds of minority voters,”he said. “Each could be higher.”He believes the key to consolidating her share of Democratic voters and improving Democratic chances down-ballot is for Clinton to emphasize “an economic change message, [which was] tested in this poll.”

What had been regarded throughout this cycle as an uninspiring succession of one Democratic president by another might then be recast as a change election that at last removes the obstructionist Republican majorities on Capitol Hill.

#EndorseThis: James Carville On The Clinton Foundation’s New Restrictions: ‘Somebody’s Going To Hell For This’

Bill Clinton released a memo on behalf of the Clinton Foundation last Thursday announcing that it would no longer accept foreign or corporate donations should Hillary Clinton be elected president.

The announcement came on the heels of an editorial in the Boston Globe advocating the change in policy, as well as weeks of attacks from Donald Trump, who claimed that recently-released emails from Hillary Clinton’s private server during her time as secretary of state proved a “pay to play” relationship.

The Clinton camp and their allies deny any political favors were given in exchange for donations, but even they have been hesitant to discuss the foundation’s work itself: the Clinton Foundation was essentially absent from on-stage speeches at the Democratic National Convention, and reactions to the proposed ban on foreign donations ranged from begrudging acceptance to exasperation that the change hadn’t come sooner, even among liberals.

Which makes James Carville’s appearance on Morning Joe Tuesday all the more interesting. The former Clinton advisor said that, purely politically, the move to ban donations make sense, but that on a moral level, it’s a different story.

“As a political adviser, of course. As a human being, I’m not sure,” Carville said. “As a human being I think the foundation does an enormous amount of good, but from strictly political standpoint, like my sixth grade teacher says, somebody is going to hell over this. Understand here, this is saving people’s lives.”

Photo: MSNBC

Democratic Strategists Prepare For An ‘Electoral Earthquake’

2016 could be an apocalyptic year for the Republican Party. That’s the conclusion, at least, of pollster Stan Greenberg, who, together with Democratic strategist James Carville, operates Democracy Corps, a political consulting firm.

In “The Wave: A Guide For Progressives,” a recent report from Democracy Corps, Greenberg explains: Donald Trump’s increasingly long, threadbare coattails have endangered Republican control of the Senate, and maybe even the House of Representatives. Trump could have an impact on Republican statehouses as well.

It all depends, Greenberg says, on how Democrats characterize not just Donald Trump, but other Republicans down-ballot.

If they follow the Clinton campaign’s instruction, they will distinguish the two: your local Republican congressman is bad. But Donald Trump is dangerous.

On the other hand, Greenberg advises that in order to achieve an “electoral earthquake,” Democrats need to paint Trump as indicative of the larger problem of extremist Republican politics, which he says runs down to the local level.

“Fueling the Republican civil war and getting moderates to vote Democratic … is the biggest opportunity for progressives to play offense and produce a sustainable fracturing of the Republican Party that impacts the Congress, the states and the issues that get taken up after this electoral earthquake,” Greenberg writes.

It’s a two-front battle, in that sense, according to “The Wave.” First, tie Trump to down-ballot Republicans. Second, sell progressives on a centrist Democrat.

And yet, there are universal political answers in the year of Trump: Common sense government like infrastructure spending works, Greenberg says, and avoiding culture wars poisonous to conservatives won’t hurt, either — that would place Democrats opposite their 2012 effort, which center-staged the danger of a conservative Supreme Court challenging abortion rights.

Most of all, Greenberg writes, don’t dance around so-called “angry white working class men.” Contrary to the overwhelming beliefs of the chattering classes (and down-ballot Democratic strategists), they aren’t a monolithic group, and more important, even if they were, they’re nowhere near a large enough group to win elections on their own.

Photo: U.S. Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton delivers remarks at a gathering of law enforcement leaders including New York Police Commissioner Bill Bratton (L) at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in New York, U.S., August 18, 2016.  REUTERS/Lucas Jackson

 

Birtherism: Trump’s Original Sin And The Media’s Latest One

Republished with permission from Media Matters

Next time you watch the news, do me a favor. Take a look at the reporters’ arms. Do they seem tired to you? Overworked? They have to be a little sore at least. Such is the vigor with which the media have been patting themselves on the back lately.

After a full year of the Trump steamroller — in which a honey-baked ham with authoritarian inclinations has managed to blow past any serious questioning of his policies or candidacy — the media apparently feel that they’re now doing their jobs.

You could see it a few weeks back in the breathless praise for MSNBC’s Chris Matthews when he interrogated Trump on abortion; or in the hype around the New York Times interview that nailed down Trump’s Strangelovian approach to nuclear weapons; or even in Trump’s recent pivot toward a more “presidential” tone. Among reporters and critics that I know, there’s a growing sentiment that Trump is changing his ways because they, the press, are taking him seriously now. They’re handling Trump not based on the job he has (obnoxious reality star) but on the job he wants (president or, perhaps, generalissimo).

Call me crazy, but I’m not totally buying this notion. I think it’s a crock. The media haven’t “done their job” with regard to Trump, and the reason why is very simple: The press have largely ignored the issue that made him a political phenomenon in the first place.

The media have overlooked Trump’s birtherism.

I’m a Catholic. I’ve seen enough baptismal water spilled to fill William Taft’s bathtub ten times over. But it doesn’t take a Catholic like me to understand the original sin of the Trump candidacy. His first act on the political stage was to declare himself the head of the birther movement. For Trump, the year 2011 began with the BIG NEWS that he had rejected Lindsay Lohan for Celebrity Apprentice, but by April, his one-man show to paint Barack Obama as a secret Kenyan had become the talk of the country. Five years later, Trump is nearing the Republican nomination for president.

In many ways, birtherism is the thing that launched Trump’s campaign. But as he nears the big prize in Cleveland, Trump has refused disavow his conspiracy theory. In July, when Anderson Cooper pressed Trumpon whether President Obama was, in fact, born in the United States, Trump’s response was, “I really don’t know.”

I’m taxing my mind to find a historical comparison here, to put this in context. I suppose Trump’s birtherism is the intellectual equivalent of the flat-earth theory; both are fully contradicted by the evidence. But then again, there is a difference between the two, and the difference is this: If a presidential candidate insisted that theUSS Theodore Roosevelt would fall off the edge of the map after sailing past Catalina, Wolf Blitzer would probably ask him about it.

It’s been nine months since Cooper pressed Trump on the issue of whether he thinks the president is an American — almost enough time, as Trump might put it, to carry a baby to term in Kenya and secretly transport him to Hawaii — and still, no one has gotten an answer. In fact, most have stopped asking. It’s now known among reporters that Obama’s birthplace is a strictly verboten topic for Trump. If you bring up the subject, as Chris Matthews did in December, Trump looks at you with a glare I assume he otherwise reserves for undocumented immigrants and say, “I don’t talk about that anymore.”

Since July, there have been 12 debates, six televised forums, and enough cable interviews to combust a DVR, but the only “birther” issue extensively covered in the press has involved whether Sen. Ted Cruz was born in Calgary Flames territory. Most reporters don’t seem to want to piss off the The Donald and risk losing their access.

Look, I understand that there’s plenty of craziness to investigate in our politics. Cruz believes that global warming is a hoax. Ben Carson claimed that the Biblical Joseph built the Great Pyramid of Khufu. Heck, once upon a time, George W. Bush famously thought the jury was out on evolution.

But Trump’s birtherism is far, far more important — for two reasons:

First, in my experience, when a politician says he doesn’t talk about an issue, that’s precisely the issue you should ask him about.

Second, there’s another difference between being birther and flat-earther. It’s possible to believe the Earth is flat and not be a bigot, but it’s impossible to be a birther and not be one.

It’s no surprise Trump’s campaign has been a parade of racism after his foray into birtherism — a border wall, a ban on Muslim immigration, and the failure to denounce the Ku Klux Klan. Unlike Bush’s creationism and Carson’s historical idiocy, Trump’s birtherism can’t be written off as a minor policy quirk. It’s less of a bug than a feature. Trump, by his own admission, sees the controversy over Obama’s birthplace as foundational to his brand and instructive to how he approaches politics. When ABC asked him about his aggressive birtherism in 2013, he said, “I don’t think I went overboard. Actually, I think it made me very popular… I do think I know what I’m doing.”

I think it made me very popular… I do think I know what I’m doing.

With birtherism, Trump discovered a sad truth about modern American media: Bigotry gets you attention. And long as you bring viewers, readers, and clicks, the fourth estate will let you get away with that bigotry.

* * *

Long before Donald Trump, there was another demagogue, Huey Long, who made a run for the White House. Long was fictionalized and immortalized as the character Willie Stark in Robert Penn Warren’s novel, All The King’s Men, in which Warren wrote, “Man is conceived in sin and born in corruption.”

So, too, was Trump’s political career.

The press should get their hands off their backs and ask him about it.

Photo: CNN.