Politics

Democrats Panic After Iowa

James Carville says he's "scared to death" that Dems have gone too far left.

Thomas Gallatin · Feb. 5, 2020

With the Democrats’ Iowa caucuses fiasco dragging on into its third day — no official winner has yet been announced — there are clear indications that party leaders are panicking. Longtime Democrat strategist and former Bill Clinton campaign manager James Carville wondered why Tom Perez was still leading the Democratic National Committee. “The polling averages have not been very good the last 10 days and I’ve some pretty good polls that show enthusiasm among Democrats is not as high as we might like it,” Carville observed. “This is not going particularly well so far. And why is Tom Perez still the chairman of the Democratic National Committee? I have no idea. This party needs to wake up.” He later added, “I know these donors and they’re not going to give a popsicle to the DNC right now. I can promise you that.”

Carville isn’t the only high-profile Democrat sounding the alarm. David Axelrod, former senior advisor to Barack Obama, bemoaned, “However bad the handling the count has been, the Iowa’s Democratic Party’s handling of the messaging around it has been an abject disaster. It should be taught in classrooms as an example of what not to do in a crisis.”

Then there’s the growing specter of election malfeasance, which will only further complicate the DNC’s future efforts of getting its base to coalesce around the party’s eventual nominee, let alone gin up voter enthusiasm.

Speaking of coalescing, the divide within the party between hard-left socialists and non-socialists has Carville even more concerned. “I mean, I’m 75 years old. Why am I here doing this? Because I am scared to death, that’s why,” he complained. It’s more than an image problem, Carville argues. “All the Sanders people were taking pictures wishing Jeremy Corbyn the best. … The press corps went AOC crazy. … We got to decide what we want to be. Do we want to be an ideological cult or do we want to have a majoritarian instinct to be a majority party? … The urban core is not going to get it done. What we need is power. You understand? That’s what this is about. Without power, you have nothing. You just have talking points.”

Back to Iowa, Joe Biden may be in real trouble. It appears that he will have mustered only a fourth-place finish and is likely to see a repeat of that in New Hampshire. The clear frontrunners are now Bernie Sanders and Pete Buttigieg, though both candidates have significant issues garnering broad appeal. While Sanders, with his pie-in-the-sky socialism, appeals to college youth, he struggles in attracting the 40-plus crowd (the segment that proves most faithful in voting). Buttigieg’s homosexual-minority status appeals to women, yet he glaringly lacks support among racial minorities. This may explain why Michael Bloomberg is now doubling his ad spending — he sees an opening to exploit.

Final observation: It looks like the Democrats’ impeachment gambit is blowing up in their faces. Thus far, impeachment has only succeeded in damaging Biden and bolstering President Donald Trump. The latest Gallup poll has him at 49% — his highest approval rating since he took office. And it’s not just Trump who’s up; the Republican Party as a whole has seen its favorability rating rise to 51% from 43% in September. Meanwhile, just 45% of Americans have a favorable view of Democrats, which is down from 48% in September. With numbers like this it’s little wonder that Carville is “scared to death.”

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