Democratic strategist James Carville said that “wokeness” was a problem that Democrats did not want to address because they feared being “clobbered or canceled.”
Carville spoke to Vox’s Sean Illing about the state of the Democratic Party and President Joe Biden’s first 100 days, and he argued that the biggest problem his party had was with messaging — and more specifically, with language.
“You ever get the sense that people in faculty lounges in fancy colleges use a different language than ordinary people?” Carville said, adding that he liked Biden in part because he did not adopt a different language, of sorts, to discuss politics.
“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.”
Carville went on to argue that he didn’t mean the party should stop addressing tough issues like racial injustice — only that they should address such issues using the same kinds of language the voters used rather than jargon. (RELATED: ‘Looking Down At People’: Longtime Democratic Strategist Issues Warning To His Party)
“‘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,” Carville said. “They’ll get clobbered or canceled.”
Carville concluded by saying that he disagreed with those in the party who said that messaging campaigns did not have to be “ruthless.”
“It really matters,” he said. “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.”