The ‘awakening’ discussion simmers for Democrats

Democrats are fighting over whether the party is too “awake” and whether that cultural debate has anything to do with its losses in last week’s election.

The discussion has been simmering beneath the surface for months, but gained new attention when veteran Democratic strategist James Carville blamed the “awakening” for the loss of the Virginia governor’s mansion, which Democrats had occupied since 2014.

Carville’s side argues that the party has leaned too far to the left and is now being defined by Republican attacks on “wacky” ideas that are not popular in much of the country. They say the party has not done enough to distance itself from slogans such as “defunding the police.” Very few Democrats support that idea, although many want police reform.

“The AOC-Bernie sandersBernie SandersBudowsky: Biden’s War Plan to Win 2022 Midterm Elections Democrats Disagree with SALT Changes Progressives Call for Removal of Buffalo Mayor from DNC Post MORE the elite are not ‘awake’, they want to blame, intimidate and threaten everyone to believe what they believe, “said a prominent Democratic strategist. “They are Trumpian voters by another name.”

Those who agree with Carville blame the progressive wing for toppling the entire party with activist antics that they said would never work in slow Washington. More broadly, they say recent election results show that the country is rejecting the concept entirely.

“Here is the political problem,” continued the strategist. “Voters, especially independents, do not share his views or his values. If the leadership of Congress and the White House continue to cower from these out-of-touch views, there will not be much party left to lead. “

But Carville’s critics say he’s not diagnosing the real reasons Democrats are losing support.

These voices argue that the party’s efforts to be more inclusive with its language and policies must be defended, and that liberals only need to do a better job of winning gains for workers and then sending messages of victories accordingly.

If the idea were so divisive and wrong, they argue, Joe Biden would not have defeated Donald Trump.

“Ultimately, he was executed on ‘awakening,'” Kara Turrentine, a progressive operative, said of President BidenJoe BidenJudge Rejects Trump’s Request to Delay Release of Jan.6 Papers Amid Appeal On Money: Biden’s Battle with Inflation Night Defense and National Security: Russia Concerns Increase MOREwinning strategy against ex President TrumpDonald Trump Three men charged with fraud in PAC scheme of .5 million scams Judge rejects Trump’s request to delay release of Jan.6 documents amid appeal Prince Harry says he warned Dorsey from Twitter on the January 6 riots MORE, which made identity a central place in his campaign (we mention race below, so cut to avoid duplicating it).

“Millions of blacks and brunettes said ‘I’m with you’ and overthrew the most racist president of our life,” he added. “Democrats cannot afford to distance themselves because reactionary forces are embracing the definition of ‘awakening.’

In fact, Republicans have singled out Democrats as too “aroused” for years.

While many in the party say that the opposition’s fear tactics around race, religion, gender identification, and other personal issues are not grounded in reality, they also acknowledge that the misperception created by the Republican Party it has contributed to some of its most significant losses.

They say that without a consistent messaging strategy, those attacks will proliferate.

“Democrats have worked very hard to be a blank page that people can write their expectations on,” said Corbin Trent, co-founder of Justice Democrats and former director of communications for the Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-CortezVeteran Alexandria Ocasio-CortezMarine Launches Challenge to Gottheimer in New Jersey Pelosi Upholds America’s ‘Moral Authority’ on Climate Action Pavlich: Biden’s Self-Inflicted Energy Crisis MORE (DN.Y.).

“That’s expensive because it allows negatives to be painted on as well,” he said.

In Virginia, Republicans took advantage of the premise that schools across the country were embracing the idea of ​​teaching “critical race theory,” an academic legal theory, to young children.

That is not happening in Virginia. But it still proved to be an effective tactic for Glenn youngkinGlenn YoungkinMellman: Aftermath of the 2021 Election: How Big Was That Change? Biden faces high stakes with progressives in the Fed election, Sununu’s departure underscores the GOP’s uncertain path to winning a Senate majority MORE, who was aided by a debate statement from the Democrat Terry McAuliffeTerry McAuliffe New Jersey Senate President Sweeney concedes in dramatic upset Mellman: Aftermath of the 2021 Election: How Big Was That Change? Biden faces big bets with progressives in Fed election MORE, who said he did not believe parents should “tell schools what to teach.”

In the immediate aftermath of the election, critical race theory has been presented as a primary strategy for Republican candidates to use against Democrats in next year’s midterm elections.

“Clearly critical racial theory had an impact,” acknowledged a member of the Democratic National Committee.

It appeared to be particularly fruitful with rural and white voters without college degrees, who seem increasingly alienated from the Democratic Party. It’s those voters that Carville, President Clinton’s former strategist, worries that Democrats are losing.

Some Democrats say they are frustrated that there is no more discussion about what to do to fix the problem.

Several DNC members told The Hill that they were left longing for a sense of introspection about what went wrong, and that there have been no formal discussions or autopsies about how the party will proceed after last week’s losses, particularly when it comes to posts. .

“I have never seen him more inactive, disconnected and more dead in all my years,” said a second DNC member of the party apparatus. “The president should be talking to the caucuses, but everything is defined by emails. There is no commitment unless it is for standard meetings. “

Some Democrats believe that Biden has a burden to offer partisan rhetoric that can work from top to bottom on the ballot. Progressives, in particular, feel that with significant ideological differences wearing down their committees in Congress, the idea that the president can provide a model for how Democrats speak about their ideas is not only important, but imperative to staying in power. .

That thinking is especially true for Democrats who are unhappy with how Biden has handled important issues for various communities that helped elect him to office.

But even some voices on the left say the party is worrying too much about how things sound and less focused on giving people much-needed relief.

Polls on terminology are rare, but according to a Hill-HarrisX poll conducted in July, only a third of Democrats describe themselves as “awakened.”

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