Carville laments: It's the wokery, stupid

“Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something.” James Carville appeared last night on PBS’ News Hour to blast the “faculty lounge” contingent of his own party, blaming “stupid wokeness” for the humiliating results in Virginia as well as across the country for Democrats. It’s not the first time that Carville has warned Democrats about wokery, but now he can definitively say I told you so (via Mediaite):

“What went wrong?” Newshour host Judy Woodruff asked Carville.

“What went wrong was this stupid wokeness,” said Carville. “Don’t just look at Virginia and New Jersey. Look at Long Island, look at Buffalo, look at Minneapolis, even look at Seattle, Washington. I mean, this defund the police lunacy, this ‘take Abraham Lincoln’s name off schools, people see that.”

Carville said the woke left has had a “suppressive effect” for Democrats in races across the country. “Some of these people need to go to a woke detox center or something,” he continued. “They’re expressing language people just don’t use and there’s a backlash and a frustration at that. Suburbanites in northern Virginia [and] New Jersey, you know, pulled away a little bit.[“]

Glenn Youngkin won by grasping this point and speaking to people where they live, Carville noted, and let Democrats do the rest:

[“]Youngkin never ran any ads against Biden.” He said Youngkin “just let the Democrats pull the pin and watch the grenade go off on them. And we’ve got to change this and not be about changing dictionaries, and change laws. And these faculty lounge people that sit around mulling about I don’t know what, they’re not working. Look what happened in Buffalo, again, Seattle, I think the Republicans may have won a city attorney’s race in Seattle, the autonomous zone. Who could even think of something that stupid?”

“I’ve got news for you,” he said, addressing certain activist Democrats. “You’re hurting the party. You’re hurting the very people you want to help. Terry got caught up – he’s a good friend of mine, he’s a good guy, you know, he got caught up – in something national, and we’ve got to change this internally, in my view.”

McAuliffe may be a personal friend of Carville’s, but that’s no reason to let him off the hook for this. McAuliffe literally sided with the faculty lounge over parents in Virginia on wokeness, to the point of having teachers union chief Randi Weingarten deliver his closing argument before the election. McAuliffe dissembled on radical wokery the entire campaign, claiming that critical race theory wasn’t being taught in schools — only true in the very narrowest literal sense, but an obvious whopper to anyone who actually accesses the state’s education policies under McAuliffe and Ralph Northam.

Ross Douthat blasted McAuliffe, Democrats, and the media yesterday in the New York Times for their misrepresentation of the debate in Virginia:

The problem with the McAuliffe strategy is that it fell back on technicalities — as in, yes, fourth-graders in the Commonwealth of Virginia are presumably not being assigned the academic works of Derrick Bell — while evading the context that has made this issue part of a polarizing national debate.

That context, obvious to any sentient person who lived through the last few years, is an ideological revolution in elite spaces in American culture, in which concepts heretofore associated with academic progressivism have permeated the language of many important institutions, from professional guilds and major foundations to elite private schools and corporate H.R. departments.

Critical race theory is an imperfect term for this movement, too narrow and specialized to capture its full complexity. But a new form of racecraft clearly lies close to the heart of the new progressivism, with the somewhat different, somewhat overlapping ideas of figures like Ibram X. Kendi and Robin DiAngelo enjoying particular influence. And that influence extends into schools and public-education bureaucracies, where Kendi and DiAngelo and their epigones often show up on resources recommended to educators — like the racial-equity reading list sent around in 2019 by one state educational superintendent, for instance, which recommended both DiAngelo’s “White Fragility” and an academic treatise on the “Foundations of Critical Race Theory in Education.”

That superintendent was responsible for Virginia’s public schools.

This is precisely the kind of “stupid wokeness” and “faculty lounge” thinking that Carville rightly despises. But McAuliffe is at least as guilty of it as anyone and arguably more guilty and dishonest about it than most. Virginia voters didn’t dismiss McAuliffe merely because of association with a woke Democratic establishment — he was the woke Democratic establishment.

Maybe Carville should choose his friends better, or at least his supported candidates. Voters certainly appear to have begun making that a habit. In that sense and in the broader context, Carville is exactly correct. Not that anyone will follow his advice, at least not until after Democrats deconstruct themselves back into a party of the coasts and Academia and lose power across the board, a process that appears well under way already. Stay tuned for my next post as we look at the data behind that prediction.