I belong to the Democratic Party that believes in protecting the ordinary working man, is staunchly pro-union and is willing to help those who have been dealt lousy hands in life. I believe most Democrats still share these core beliefs. But as I have long warned, there's more than a bit of elitism creeping into my party. It's driving some Democrats, some of whom are close friends, into the arms of Republicans. Democrat strategist James Carville, in a recent Vox interview, calls it our wokeness problem. Below are a few excerpts.
"[I]f we’re just talking about Biden, it’s very difficult to find something to complain about. And to me his biggest attribute is that he’s not into “faculty lounge” politics."
"You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people? They come up with a word like “Latinx” that no one else uses. Or they use a phrase like “communities of color.” I don’t know anyone who speaks like that. I don’t know anyone who lives in a “community of color.” I know lots of white and Black and brown people and they all live in ... neighborhoods."
"Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it. It’s hard to talk to anybody today — and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party — who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.
"I always tell people that we’ve got to stop speaking Hebrew and start speaking Yiddish. We have to speak the way regular people speak, the way voters speak. It ain’t complicated. That’s how you connect and persuade. And we have to stop allowing ourselves to be defined from the outside."
"We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures. So let’s not have an argument about whether or not we’re off-key in our messaging. We are. And we’re off because there’s too much jargon and there’s too much esoterica and it turns people off."
"Let me give you my favorite example of metropolitan, overeducated arrogance. Take the climate problem. Do you realize that climate is the only major social or political movement that I can think of that refuses to use emotion? Where’s the identifiable song? Where’s the bumper sticker? Where’s the slogan? Where’s the flag? Where’s the logo?
"We don’t have it because with faculty politics what you do is appeal to reason. You don’t need the sloganeering and sound bites. That’s for simple people. All you need are those timetables and temperature charts, and from that, everyone will just get it.
"That’s not how the world works; that’s not how people work. And Republicans are way more disciplined about taking a thing and branding it. Elites will roll their eyes at that, but I’d ask, “How’s that working out for you?” Most people agree with us on health care and minimum wage and Roe v. Wade and even on the climate.
"So why can’t we leverage that?"