Democratic strategist James Carville who thinks party has ‘wokeness' problem, in sync with ex-Republican wife

Carville’s wife Mary Matalin once said, 'Democrats and Republicans don’t speak to each other, which is anathema to me'


                            Democratic strategist James Carville who thinks party has ‘wokeness' problem, in sync with ex-Republican wife
James Carville and Mary Matalin attend NFL Honors And Pepsi Rookie Of The Year at Murat Theatre on February 4, 2012 in Indianapolis, Indiana (Getty Images)
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Democratic strategist James Carville reportedly has a problem with the party’s “wokeness”. The 76-year-old is the one who helped plan Bill Clinton's win in 1992. Recently, he was invited by Vox’s Sean Illing to express his views on Democratic politics’ condition, where he claimed, “Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it.”

Carville also described the reason why Democrats managed to regain the power in the office and Senate, but only by very small numbers while losing congressional seats and failing to seize state legislatures. He attributed his party's failures to the “messaging problem”. He explained, “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.’”

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“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,” the political consultant mentioned.

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James Carville at 'Art of the Campaign Strategy' panel during Politicon at Pasadena Convention Center on July 29, 2017 in Pasadena, California (Getty Images)

Carville then emphasized that we “should talk about racial injustice” and race, but “without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people — including most Black people, by the way — because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This ‘too cool for school’ shit doesn’t work, and we have to stop it.”

He also noted that tweeting “that we should abolish the police isn’t the smartest thing to do because almost fuc**** no one wants to do that,” before adding: “No matter how you look at the map, the only way Democrats can hold power is to build on their coalition, and that will have to include more rural white voters from across the country. Democrats are never going to win a majority of these voters. That’s the reality. But the difference between getting beat 80 to 20 and 72 to 28 is all the difference in the world.”

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Republican strategist Mary Matalin speaks as her husband Democratic strategist James Carville listens at the NBC studios March 2, 2008 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Elsewhere in the interview, Carville talked about the Capitol riots that took the lives of five people, including a police officer. On January 6, supporters of former President Donald Trump violently attacked the Capitol building when Congress gathered there to certify the win of Biden in the 2020 presidential race. He said, “They [Democrats] have to make the Republicans own that insurrection every day. They have to pound it. They have to call bookers on cable news shows. They have to get people to write op-eds. There will be all kinds of investigations and stories dripping out for god knows how long, and the Democrats should spend every day tying all of it to the Republican Party. They can’t sit back and wait for it to happen.”

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Trump supporters clash with police and security forces as people try to storm the US Capitol on January 6, 2021 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

“Hell, just imagine if it was a bunch of nonwhite people who stormed the Capitol. Imagine how Republicans would exploit that and make every news cycle about how the Dems are responsible for it. Every political debate would be about that. The Republicans would bludgeon the Democrats with it forever. So whatever you think Republicans would do to us in that scenario, that’s exactly what the hell we need to do them,” he concluded.

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 'Political odd couple'  

Through Vox’s interview, Carville did not miss a chance to rebuke Republicans and call their leader “a world-historical buffoon” -- a reference to Trump. So it would surprise many that he is married to a former Republican. Carville’s wife is Mary Matalin, who was once a political strategist for the Republican party.

They are commonly known as the “political odd couple” who tied the knot in 1993 after meeting in Washington in 1991 while working on their respective campaigns and have since successfully raised two daughters together. They are called Matalin Mary "Matty" Carville and Emerson Normand "Emma" Carville. 

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White House counselor Mary Matalin, right, discusses her new job for the Bush administration as her husband James Carville reacts on NBC''s ''Meet the Press'' January 21, 2001 during a taping at the NBC studio in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

Married to Carville for nearly 30 years, Matalin -- who went from being a Republican to a Libertarian in 2016 -- still does not support all her husband’s political views. When the pair visited St Joseph’s Academy in Baton Rouge in 2019, she told the teenage girls at the academy, “Always test the way that you think. At the end of the day, you may very well conclude that you were right in the first place, but at least you came to that conclusion yourself.”

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The 67-year-old, who served under President Ronald Reagan and was also the campaign director for George H W Bush, expressed dismay over the fact that the new generation does not mix with people who have different political views. Matalin noted if she and Carville were of this generation, their marriage wouldn’t have happened. “Democrats and Republicans don’t speak to each other, which is anathema to me,” she added.

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Political consultant Mary Matalin accepts the Vegan award onstage at PETA's 35th Anniversary Party at Hollywood Palladium on September 30, 2015 in Los Angeles, California (Getty Images)

During her talk, Matalin also made clear that it was Carville’s intelligence that attracted her towards him. She said, “He is a genius. He is frequently wrong, but that doesn’t make him not a genius.” While Carville light-heartedly added, “If you’re as ugly as I am, you can’t just date anyone. You’ve got to expand the playing field. And, I think I did pretty good.” On their union, Matalin stated, “People frequently suggest that our marriage is some type of solution for the partisanship that ails us, to which I say our marriage is not a democracy, it’s a mom-o-cracy.”

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James Carville (L) and his wife Mary Matalin (R) speak to the press about Tim Russert outside NBC's bureau June 15, 2008 in Washington, DC (Getty Images)

To give a detailed insight into their strong marriage, the power couple has also written a book together -- ‘Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home’. Carville said in the book, “I knew Mary was nuts a long time ago. But I loved her in spite of it — and probably because of it.” He then stated, “I’d rather stay happily married than pick a fight with my wife over politics.” While Matalin wrote, “I would not deny we were, and remain, off beat creatures.”

Carville and Matalin are not only fond of each other -- there are many who adore them. One of their fans is Samantha Durst, the chairwoman for the Party of Hope event that happened in 2017. At the time, she said, “Mr Carville and Ms Matalin bring tremendous energy to almost any political discussion. They are dynamic speakers who know the highs and lows of life in politics and have worked with some of the most influential elected officials in America.” Durst added: “Perhaps most important of all in today’s political climate, they bring a very real example of people with different political views working and raising a family together. Their relationship has survived the shifting political tides of the last 20 years.”

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