James Carville: With Younger, Less White, Unmarried Electorate, Dems Have Better Chance to Win

Posted November 18, 2010 at 1:18pm

Two weeks after the party lost control of the House and six seats in the Senate, Democratic strategists James Carville and Stan Greenberg blamed the size of the Democrats’ midterm losses on messaging but remained optimistic about the party’s chances in 2012.

“The House is in play in this next election,” Greenberg said. “I think we’ll be battling right at the edge of control.”

Speaking with reporters at a breakfast hosted by the Christian Science Monitor, Greenberg added that the “50 or so Republicans” in districts that President Barack Obama won in 2008 will be targets.

With Obama up for re-election in 2012, Carville noted that the presidential electorate is far more favorable to Democrats and will continue to be in the years ahead as the demographics of the country evolve.

Carville described it as “a less white, younger, less married electorate,” all of which are positive indicators for Democrats.

“The deck he’s going to play with in 2012 is going to be a fundamentally more favorable deck than he played with in 2010,” Carville said of Obama. Meanwhile, “Republicans are forced to double-down on older whites.”

The two former advisers to President Bill Clinton said the messaging by Obama and Congressional Democrats in 2010 was out of touch and led to a loss of more than 60 House seats, rather than holding the inevitable losses closer to 30.

“I don’t buy that the electorate was uninformed. I do buy that we didn’t inform them sufficiently on our side. And we paid the price for that,” Carville said.

“This is an almost depression-like economic crisis that they minimized,” Greenberg added. “This is a total misframing of this crisis.”

In terms of improving the messaging, Greenberg said: “A lot of it is giving people in the middle of this crisis a sense of the scale of it and what has to be done to get out of it. This is not a small adjustment of who does communication in the House of Representatives.”

Still, the Democracy Corps founders insisted it would not take as long for Democrats to retake control of the House as it did after the 1994 elections, when Republicans won control of both chambers.

“The ’94 Republicans were actually popular, as opposed to the 2010 Republicans, who are not,” Carville said.

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