Veteran Democratic strategist James Carville, most famous for leading Bill Clinton to his first presidential victory in 1992, said Tuesday that he’s “scared to death” about the direction of the Democratic Party.
Responding to the (partial) results coming out of the Iowa caucuses, Carville said he was extremely concerned about the rise of Sen. Bernie Sanders. According to the early numbers, Sanders and Pete Buttigieg will emerge from Iowa as the clear frontrunners; Joe Biden, the long-presumed heir to the establishment throne, had a very bad night.
To Carville, the situation could not be worse.
“I’m 75 years old, why am I here doing this? Because I’m scared to death, that’s why,” Carville said on MSNBC. “Let’s get relevant here – all the Sanders people are taking pictures wishing Jeremy Corbyn the best. I don’t want to go down that path.”
Carville said that while the media was going “AOC crazy” in covering the insurgent, radical side of the Democratic Party, moderates like Buttigieg and Amy Klobuchar were putting up respectable numbers.
“We’ve 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?” Carville continued. “What we need is power, you understand? That’s what this is about. Without power, you have nothing. You just have talking points.”
Carville is far from the only Democratic Party stalwart who is trembling with fear over the possibility that Bernie Sanders could actually emerge as the nominee this summer.
The New York Post reports:
Among insiders there is near-universal belief that Sanders’ card carrying socialist credentials could create enormous problems with suburban and older voters — both of whom tend to be wealthier than the general population. While millennials are evenly split between socialism or capitalism, only 39 percent of Generation Xers and 32 percent of Baby Boomers held favorable views of “socialism,” according to a November 2019 Gallup poll.
“For Democrats to win, the election must be a referendum on Trump and not a debate about socialism,” Michael Kempner, a longtime Democratic donor who has cut checks for Biden and Buttigieg, told The Post. “The vast majority of Democrats and the nation do not believe in socialism.”
The sense is that, if Sanders racks up a first-place finish in New Hampshire, the NeverBernie movement could come out of the shadows and turn the 2020 Democratic primaries into a mirror image of the 2016 Republican primaries.
Of course, Democrats might want to remember how that one turned out before committing themselves to stopping the Bern.