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Opinion | James Carville, the Cajun Who Can’t Stop Ragin’

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“You said something quite a while ago. This is before Biden announced. You said that you thought time for new blood, time for a changing of the guard, open primary season. Then, within the last month or so, you said you wish there would be an open convention, like the old-fashioned days, where they’d broker and find a candidate. And that was a little upsetting to me because this is about whether or not we preserve our 249 years of self-rule or we slip into a theocratic autocracy.” “I don’t think people really appreciate how bad Biden’s poll numbers are. When you look at them, it’s like walking in on your grandmother naked. You can’t unsee them, no matter how hard you try. And the deeper you dig, the kind of worse it is. I don’t think we thought this thing through. I don’t think people realize the hunger and appetite for something different in this country. And I don’t think they realize this terrific pool of candidates out of there.” “I don’t disagree with you that we have a good bench. There are a lot of great candidates out there for 2028. But can we just talk about those poll numbers that you talk about, which are — right now, you look at them, they’re not good. There’s no question about it. But I think we can still win this election, but we have to all be pulling with the same oar. We all have to be pulling the same oar.” “So when I say it’s underappreciated how bad these numbers are, first of all, in order for a Democrat to win in a coalition, an integral part of coalition are Blacks and under 30. The numbers among Blacks are abysmal. They’re not bad, OK? I think Biden will obviously carry the Black vote, but he won a close election with a robust Black turnout — I don’t see it — and a robust under-30 turnout. Under 30 should be 17 percent of the electorate. It’s clocking in now 14. And they think that we are old — — I don’t know where they get that idea — And that —” [OVERLAPPING VOICES] “Look at us, man.” [INAUDIBLE] “I’m a young puppy, compared to you.” “I know that. My sister says, ‘Do you realize how old you are?’ I said, ‘No, I never think about it.’ I know how old I am.” [LAUGHS] “And I understand where you’re coming from. People that I love, that I talk to every day, that have been part of this film make exactly the same point you do. And I can’t unsee what I see.” “Yeah.” “Look, if it goes to the convention and Biden is the nominee, I’ll be the most enthusiastic point person that you can imagine.” “I like hearing you say that, once he’s the nominee —” “There’s no [INAUDIBLE].” “You’re all in. You’re all —” “Right.” “You’re all in.” “But if there’s a 5 percent chance I can stop — if I knew someone was going to commit suicide or I thought they were, I thought there was a 60 percent chance they’re going to commit suicide —” “I’ll be committing suicide if Trump becomes president. 100 percent.” “Well, I know. I understand what you’re saying. I feel like that we might be committing suicide.” “Now, we did talk about suburban women. And to me, when they understand that Trump has called for a national abortion ban and that could happen, that is another part that’ll energize the suburbs of Philadelphia, Milwaukee, Phoenix, those places.” “Literally, Democrats have not lost an election since Dobbs. Anywhere.” “Right.” “Everywhere.” “Right.” “But if we don’t have 12 percent Black contribution or 17 percent under 30, you can’t make it up with suburban women.” “How do we get those people out? That’s what we need you to do.” [STAMMERING] “That’s what we need you for.” “Again, I — so people ascribe to me powers that I don’t have, OK? The world is not — I mean, as high an opinion I might have of myself, and it’s probably not as high as some people think it is — but suppose I affect 100 votes, and suppose but for 75 votes, Biden would have won, and somebody — and a political scientist, you know — did an algorithm and some advanced math calculations and said, you know, ‘James Carville is the reason that we don’t have a Constitution anymore.’ All right, now that’s obviously not true.” “No.” “But if you think it goes through my head, yeah. If it’s us and Trump, of course we got to work our asses off. But it’s not going to be. It’s going to be us and Trump and No Labels and Bobby Kennedy, who’s [EXPLETIVE] crazy.” “And there’s no definitive polling that he will take more from Biden than Trump. He probably will, but I’m thinking — and again, we’re on the margins here. We’re on the margins. So if he can take one or two points more, that could be very dangerous for us.” “So they have [INAUDIBLE]. I don’t know how to get to — how you get this number. But there’s a [EXPLETIVE] vote in the United States. And there always has been.” “Always has been. But it’s bigger than — That put — that put George W. in the White House because they voted for Ralph Nader instead of for Gore.” “But there is no doubt that without Ralph Nader, the Supreme Court could not have stole the 2000 election.” “Yeah.” “Trump doesn’t want another ‘Well, [EXPLETIVE]’ candidate, because he’s cornered the ‘Well, [EXPLETIVE]’ market. You know?” “He really does. Assuming that we’re where we are, it’s going to be Biden against Trump, unless something wildly unforeseen happens, do you still think we can win this election?” “Yeah, but — because every election is close. Right now — and we need more than a little bit of a change to win this. And I don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m no better at predicting who’s going to win an election than you would be, maybe, better at, like, predicting who’s going to win the Academy Award because you know these people think, but you probably don’t. You know, not very good rate. But in a country that is just craving some kind of a change, and people say democracy — I agree — democracy is on the ballot. But if a democracy produces two candidates that 70 percent percent of the people don’t want, people are going to say, well, [EXPLETIVE], just let the General Motors board pick whoever they want to be president.” “It is a — it’s a crapshoot, whether — you know, Biden is our nominee. If you decide that you’re going to blow up where we are now and open up a convention and have a brokered convention or whatever, that could also be dangerous. I’m just looking at the reality of where we are and saying, ‘This is where we are, and this is what we have to accept and full-bore support Joe Biden.’” “It looks like the party has decided that, OK, we’re just going to go through with this. I think the modern Republican Party is defined by criminality. And I’ve been a Democrat all my life, but I’m beginning to think that the defining trait we have is cowardice. I can’t unsee my naked grandmother.” “Yeah, I hear what you’re saying. And if there’s that 1 percent or 2 percent chance that something happens and we have to, you know, go a different direction, like you, I’m percent behind that.”

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