Patterico's Pontifications


James Carville: “Wokeness Is a Problem”

Filed under: General — Patterico @ 8:29 am

I don’t normally suggest that you read Vox, but this interview with James Carville is worth your time. A taste:

CARVILLE: 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.

There’s nothing inherently wrong with these phrases. But this is not how people talk. This is not how voters talk. And doing it anyway is a signal that you’re talking one language and the people you want to vote for you are speaking another language. This stuff is harmless in one sense, but in another sense it’s not.

. . . .

INTERVIEWER: Sounds like you got a problem with “wokeness,” James.

CARVILLE: 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: Because they’ll get clobbered or canceled.

Frankly, the word “wokeness” these days reminds me of the phrase “Believe All Women” — it’s primarily or exclusively used by opponents of the concept.

SIDE OBSERVATION: I don’t mean to derail the discussion here, but during the Kavanaugh hearings the left often used the phrase “Believe Women” which, for many, was functionally no different from telling people to believe all women. Anyone who tried to reconcile the concept that of course you have to apply normal skepticism and evaluate evidence found themselves tongue-tied when confronted with the question: “So what does ‘Believe Women’ mean then?” They would toss out some gobbledygook about women having a “chance” to be heard or something. This attitude was short-handed by opponents of the concept as “Believe All Women.” But then people got it into their head that the left itself had actually used that phrase — Believe All Women — all the time. I fell into that trap myself, until one day I set out to find old examples of the use of the phrase, to refute people who denied that the left used it — and I found they were right. END SIDE OBSERVATION.

The left may have used the term “wokeness” long ago, but today it seems to be almost exclusively used by people like me who think it’s dumb. Kind of like “cancel culture” or “fake news,” it’s a phrase that has become co-opted by the right and does not seem to be used unironically by lefties any more.

Except Carville — who invokes both “wokeness” and being “canceled” because he’s an old-school opponent of both concepts. He’s a lefty but he’s the type of lefty who still remembers what common sense is like.

Unfortunately, his conception of the Democrat party is being left behind. He credits Biden with being beyond all of that — and Biden is certainly less “woke” than many in the Democrat party — but Biden can do racial and wokeness pandering with the best of them. Glenn “Tim Scott’s grandpappy was a privileged rich black dude” Kessler issued his report card on Biden’s misstatements so far, and most of them involve mega-pandering regarding the supposedly horrific Georgia voting law that has inspired so much exaggeration and fake pearl-clutching among the left.

About one-seventh of Biden’s false or misleading claims on the list relate to the Georgia voting law, which Democrats charge is part of a GOP effort to seize on Trump’s bogus claims of election fraud to justify the disenfranchisement of minorities.

Biden’s claim that the measure shortened voting hours drew sharp criticism from Republicans, who accused Democrats of lying about the bill. In reality, Election Day hours were not changed and the opportunities to cast a ballot in early voting were expanded.

Biden aides never provided an explanation for why Biden made this statement — or why it was even repeated in an official statement issued by the White House.

So yeah, Carville gives Biden entirely too much credit. But Biden is still far from Mr. Hyperwoke Dude. Because he’s freaking old. As is Carville.

But that’s the wave of the future. Even as the Republican party fights hard for the title of “The Stupid Party” — with Tucker Carlson encouraging his viewers to call Child Protective Services if they see children wearing masks outside — the Democrat party is hanging in there. The party whose nominees shot up their hands during debates when asked questions that boiled down to “raise your hand if you would like to pander to the illegal immigrant constituency” now has a president whose Homeland Security Secretary insists we won’t even impose a fine on illegal immigrants who deft court orders to stay in the country.

The craziness continues. Making it interesting to read an interview with someone like Carville, who (to some extent) recognizes what he is seeing in his own party, and giving voice to the fact that it worries him.

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