Democratic strategist James Carville said Tuesday that Democrats need to focus more on messaging in 2024 and blamed the party and the media for “letting people go to the polls” with a “massive misunderstanding” of what they’re voting for.
“That said, looking ahead to ’24, what can Democrats learn about how they ran the campaign, regardless of outcome, how they ran their campaigns in ’22?” Joe Scarborough, host of MSNBC’s “Morning Joe,” asked.
Carville said more people heading to the polls believe Democrats will defund the police then people who believe Republicans will “shut down the government” and cut Social Security and Medicare.
“So, I would criticize Democratic messaging and the media for letting people go to the polls with massive misunderstanding of what the consequences they are voting on. I think that regardless of what happens tonight, we’ve got to be much better and much more focused on messaging in the 2024 cycle,” he added.
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Elise Jordan asked Carville who he believed was the most effective Democrat from the 2022 midterm cycle.
Carville said Rep. Tim Ryan, who is running against Republican J.D. Vance in Ohio, and Pennsylvania Democrat gubernatorial candidate Josh Shapiro.
“Shapiro is doing something that – he is tackling the crime issue of which I begged Democrats to do, and Joe knows this, in the spring of 2021, but I was told the Ford Foundation would not allow us to do that. I don’t know where the Ford Foundation ever got veto power over Democratic messaging,” Carville said.
Scarborough said Shaprio had figured out how to talk about crime, inflation and democracy.
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“You know, people say democracy is on the ballot, well people say, ‘well I’m voting,” okay, I mean to some extent that’s an – some expression of democracy at least,” Carville said, adding that early voting was on track to be higher than 2018.
Carville told the Associated Press in October that while abortion was a “good issue” for Democrats, they needed to be more aggressive with crime and the cost of living.
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“A lot of these consultants think if all we do is run abortion spots that will win for us. I don’t think so,” he said. “It’s a good issue. But if you just sit there and they’re pummeling you on crime and pummeling you on the cost of living, you’ve got to be more aggressive than just yelling abortion every other word.”
Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-VT., also argued that the decision by some Democrats to ignore the economy and the cost of living was “political malpractice.”