And right now the veteran Democratic consultant, who first grabbed national attention as the top strategist on then-Arkansas Gov. Bill Clinton’s successful 1992 presidential campaign, is taking aim at “wokeness” in his own party.
Carville, a Louisiana native nicknamed the “Ragin’ Cajun,” points to Saturday’s comfortable victory by the more moderate Democrat over the more progressive rival in the special election runoff in the state’s 2nd Congressional District and tells Fox News that “woke got the crap beat out of it.”
State Sen. Troy Carter topped state Sen. Karen Carter Peterson by 10 points in the race to fill the congressional seat left vacant earlier this year when Rep. Cedric Richmond, who represented the district for a decade, stepped down to join President Biden’s administration as senior adviser and director of the Office of Public Liaison.
Carter, who was endorsed early on by Richmond and enjoyed the backing of powerful Rep. Jim Clyburn of South Carolina, also won the support of key local unions.
Carter Peterson, who made history as the first female Democratic state party chair, ran as the more progressive of the two candidates, and she was backed by some top national progressive leaders, including Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts and Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez of New York. Thanks to support from Emily’s List and the Working Parties PAC, her side was able to heavily outspend Carter and his supporters in what turned out to be a low-turnout election.
Carville knows the majority-Black and heavily blue district that stretches from New Orleans to Baton Rouge quite well – he grew up there.
In an interview Tuesday with Fox News, he highlighted that Peterson “was saying [Carter] wasn’t progressive enough. She was running at him totally from the woke left. He didn’t buy into it. He ran a Jim Clyburn, Joe Biden, Cedric Richmond kind of campaign. And he won big, and he would have won bigger if it wouldn’t have been such a low turnout election and if the spending differential against him wasn’t so enormous.”
Carville also criticized Peterson for running “a national campaign” and for being “the perfect ‘faculty lounge’ candidate.”
He explained that he was referring to people in faculty lounges at elite college campuses who speak a different language than the average voter.
“People just don’t like it,” he emphasized.
Carville, who repeatedly in recent years has vocally taken aim at the left of his party, made similar comments in a wide-ranging interview with Vox that was published earlier Tuesday.
Carville said the results in Saturday’s special election runoff in Louisiana have national implications and are the latest warning sign for a Democratic Party that is defending its slim majorities in the House and Senate in the 2022 midterms.
Pointing to the party’s down ballot troubles in last year’s House showdowns, when the GOP took a big bite out of the Democrats’ majority, he said the Louisiana election results “just validated the 2020 election.”
“How many times do you need to see evidence that this stuff doesn’t work?” he asked.
Pointing to then-presidential candidate Biden’s rout of the rest of the 2020 Democratic nomination contenders – most of whom were running to the left of Biden – Carville asked, “How do you think Biden ends up being the Democratic nominee in a landslide?”
Answering his own question, Carville said of Biden – “he understood what the Democratic Party was.”