‘If You Need Wokeness, Just Go Listen To NPR’: James Carville Doubles Down On Democrats’ Problem

Virginia Kruta Associate Editor
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Democratic strategist James Carville doubled down Saturday on Democrats’ wokeness problem that he says could cost the party dearly in 2022 and 2024.

Carville joined CNN’s Michael Smerconish to discuss the issue, and he argued that the fixation on wokeness was preventing Democrats from reaching real people and costing them voters. (RELATED: ‘Wokeness Is A Problem’: James Carville Says Democrats Won’t Admit That Because They’ll Be ‘Clobbered Or Canceled’)


“Correct me if I am wrong, it is questioning — not that you are questioning any one aspect of what gets lumped into wokeness but I think you are saying as a political strategy this dog doesn’t hunt,” Smerconish prompted after introducing Carville.

“It doesn’t hunt on several levels,” Carville said, adding that in politics the best way to reach the people was to speak their language. “Address people as they address each other, not like the humanities department at Amherst wants you to address everybody.”

Carville went on to note that the effects were already visible in the results of the 2020 congressional races, saying that slogans like “defund the police” had cost Democrats in more moderate districts.

“I can look at the voting results in the Rio Grande valley. I can look at the voting results in Miami-Dade. I can relate conversations that I have with people every day,” Carville continued. “People who don’t want to live like this are scared to address the issue because it might come out the wrong way. No one is using that language except for, you know, some of our people on television if you go to — if you need wokeness, just go listen to NPR. I leave it on my truck radio so I never fall asleep.”

Smerconish pressed Carville, asking whether there might be enough voters who appreciated the focus on wokeness to offset any losses. Carville said no, because he believed most of the people who would appreciate that focus likely lived in areas that Democrats would carry anyway.

“We won’t win an election in a faculty lounge. That’s just idiotic. I’m not saying — that whole assumption is idiotic. And I — the number of people that have contacted me or had people contact me after this has been enormously gratifying. Everybody just wanted this temperature to break. I get people, they’re woke and tired of being woke,” Carville continued. He went on to say that, as the pandemic ended, people just wanted to return to their normal lives and not worry about whether they might lose their jobs for addressing someone in the wrong way.

“I mean, time and time again, you hear this from everybody and of course people say ‘I don’t want to say anything because I’ll lose my job.’ Well, it so happens I’m just at a point where there is nothing to cancel me from so I don’t care. Do what you want to do,” he said.

Smerconish concluded the interview by asking whether Carville worried that wokeness could cost Democrats in the 2022 midterms.

“It almost did in 2020. We did not do well. Any analyst I talked to, any politician I talk to, ascribes it to the same thing,” Carville replied.

“Final question. Final question. Could Donald Trump ride wokeness back to the White House in 2024?” Smerconish asked.

“Well, let’s put it this way. He is a world-class buffoon. I mean, historical buffoon not just in the history of the United States and he came within 42,000 votes of winning re-election,” Carville said. “After he had flubbed up the worst pandemic we’ve had in a hundred years. Somebody somewhere is trying to tell us something. Maybe we should listen to them.”