Democrats are afraid. Very afraid. In fact, if Democratic strategist James Carville’s appearance on MSNBC is any indication, they should be terrified. During a conversation with host Al Sharpton, Carville gave his political comrades a possible roadmap to help them avoid a devastating defeat in the upcoming congressional elections. But even with all this advice, the renowned political operator did not seem to have much confidence in his party’s ability to execute these ideas.
Sharpton interviewed Carville about how Democrats should handle the most pressing issues Americans are facing today. Covering a range of topics, the man famous for uttering “It’s the economy, stupid,” seemed unwilling to accept or believe his own oft-repeated advice.
A Litany for the Masses
Starting with inflation, the reverend asked if Carville was “hearing a strong message from Democrats on the economy in these midterms.” “To me, there’s one thing we can do that the Tories did in the UK,” the strategist said. “You have all-time high gas prices and all company profits. My idea is let’s tax these profits and give people some relief.” A Democrat suggesting that the government tax its way out of an economic problem? Who could have possibly seen that coming?
Next, Sharpton brought up the abortion debate, which has been in full swing since the Supreme Court handed down its ruling overturning Roe v. Wade. The reverend asked whether this particular fight would bring electoral success. Carville averred that “the Democratic political position has improved over the last month,” even though it is “still perilous.” The men went on to cover guns, climate change, the January 6 committee, and a whole host of Democratic Party talking points; all comfortable territory for a veteran political operative.
Despite the calm reassurances on familiar topics, it was when Sharpton probed into the party’s electoral chances that things got sticky.
No Calm Waters Ahead
In his last question, Sharpton referred to Carville as a “voice of calm” during the 2020 presidential campaign and asked for his take on the upcoming congressional elections. Carville bluntly stated that he is no longer a “voice of calm” but that he is “petrified.” “Not optimistic” about the future of the country, the strategist noted that Democrats need young people to show up to vote against Republicans. “But I am not a voice of confidence at all,” the he declared. “I am very afraid right now.”
Carville seems to understand the dire situation in which the Democrats find themselves. A Gallup poll published last month showed Biden’s approval ratings stuck at 41%. The survey also found that the vast majority of Americans are not too happy with where the country is headed. Recent congressional polling puts the GOP in the lead when it comes to taking the majority, hinting at the impending end of Biden’s legislative agenda.
“Americans’ satisfaction with the direction of the country has dipped three points over the past month to 13%, continuing the downward trend seen since March, when 24% were satisfied. Nearly nine in 10 Americans (87%) are now dissatisfied with the direction of the country,” Gallup wrote. Another survey from the same organization found that only 18% approve of Congress’ performance.
Carville answered each of Sharpton’s softball questions with well-scripted strategy and messaging that is consistent across the party. They have the narratives set, they have the policies they feel will be successful, and yet, the brains behind Bill Clinton’s presidential campaign admits he is petrified.
To put it simply, prospects for the left look bleak; nearly all indications suggest one thing: Carville and his pals have every reason to be afraid.