Carville accuses fellow Dems of trying to silence him on Biden: ‘James, you can’t say that’

Biden’s bleak prospects were deemed taboo according to one political strategist who explained that “leading Democrats” have advised him to pipe down on polling.

“James, you can’t say that.”

Despite the Democratic National Committee’s apparent coronation of incumbent President Joe Biden as their nominee, refusing to hold debates and bucking the order on primary voting, top-billing was far from secure. Speaking to that reality, consultant and strategist James Carville weighed in on a newly announced challenger for the White House and the Biden campaign’s own denials over the general election veiled by the “doctrine of strategic certainty.”

Speaking with The Atlantic as part of a piece on Minnesota Rep. Dean Phillips’s (D) challenge, joining Marianne Williamson as the only other prominent Democratic opponent after Robert F. Kennedy Jr. relaunched his campaign as an independent, Carville addressed the president’s lacking favorability that presented November 2024 as a probable loss for the party.

“I’m looking at polling data, and I’m looking at all of it. The president’s numbers are just not good–and they’re not getting any better,” he explained to the outlet.

“I talk to a lot of people who do a lot of congressional-level polling and state polling,” continued Carville, “and they’re all saying the same thing. There’s not an outlier; there’s not another opinion…The question is, has the country made up its mind?”

While the strategist attempted to sound the alarm for fellow Democrats before blowing past the point of no return, he lamented how his arguments were heard, but not heeded.

“Nobody is saying, ‘James, you’re wrong,'” he told the Atlantic about discussions with “leading Democrats” on his view about Biden’s dwindling re-election prospects. “They’re saying, ‘James, you can’t say that.'”

Carville has remained vocal on the matter of the president’s general election chances, making similar points to comedian Bill Maher during an appearance on the “Club Random” podcast. In September, he told the host, “Let’s assume the election was Nov. 3rd of this year and the candidates are Joe Biden, the Democrat, Donald Trump, the Republican, Joe Manchin and Larry Hogan, No Labels, and Cornel West. Trump would be a betting favorite.”

“If I told you I would give you even money, you would not take that bet. All right. And so somebody better wake the f*ck up,” he went on.

The Atlantic presented an opposing argument from former President Barack Obama’s 2012 campaign manager Jim Messina who contended on Biden’s positioning, “This exactly where we were at this stage of that election cycle.”

“If there was real concern, then you’d have real politicians running,” he went on. “I’d never heard of Dean Phillips until a few weeks ago.”

Messina added, “Biden’s already beaten Trump once. He’s the one guy who can beat him again.”

However, Carville recoiled at the logic he described as “operat[ing] with what I call this doctrine of strategic certainty,” as he made the point that, “The most under-covered story in contemporary American politics is that black turnout has been miserable everywhere since 2020.”

Still, as the DNC has failed to host a single debate and Biden skipped registering for the New Hampshire primary as the party moved to treat South Carolina’s election as the kickoff to the cycle, Biden’s campaign co-chair Cedric Richmond told The Atlantic it was the president’s opponent, Phillips, who doesn’t “give a crap” about the Democratic Party and is only fulfilling “a vanity project.”

“History tells us,” he explained in language that seemed preparatory to spin away a loss in the general, “when the sitting president faces a primary challenge, it weakens him for the general elections. No party has ever survived that.”


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