‘Let’s Shut This Puppy Down’; Carville Demands End to Primary Race, Push Sanders Aside

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Former Clinton official and frequent cable news guest James Carville was not in a very good mood throughout the 2020 Democratic primary season, but Tuesday represented quite the turn as he not only reveled in former Vice President Joe Biden’s Super Tuesday 2 wins, but he declared “[l]et’s shut this puppy down” in reference to the primary campaigns going forward because “this thing is decided.

Carville’s latest tour de force began by paraphrasing Guy Fawkes with the line “remember, remember, this is all about November” and thus “[t]hese voters want to shut this thing down.”

 

 

“Let’s shut this puppy down and let’s move on and worry about November. This thing is decided. There's no reason to keep it going not even a day longer,” he added in rather blunt terms.

Carville continued in his next answer on the theme of ending the race to respect the voters that have already spoken (click “expand”):

It’s the Democratic voters that made this decision. It’s the — Vice President Biden is not trying to force him out. You've got to respect voters. You respect the people in South Carolina and Virginia and Michigan and all the places they're working....[W]hat Democrats around the country are saying and just everywhere that you go, they want change. We’ve got to get rid of this guy. What are we doing? And these are not ordinary times, and we've got to — you know, of course, the vice president, he's the guy in the lead. He's got to take the lead here. We've got to bring this party together. We have got to stop this. This is not any avail to continue this thing any longer. 

It really isn't and we can have respect and we can have admiration for what's Senator Sanders has established but you've got to respect the Democratic voters. You've got to respect people in — in the Mississippi Delta, in Sunflower County, Mississippi. You got to respect people in Oakland County, Michigan. You've got to respect people in Orangeburg, South Carolina. You've got to respect people in Loudoun County, Virginia. I mean, this is what this is about. The Democratic voters have spoken. They've spoken unambiguously and clearly and they need to be listened to. 

Later, he reminded the so-called MSNBC experts that Democrats weren’t “waiting on somebody” or “a phone bank” but proof that there was “somebody who could get around and beat Donald Trump and that's exactly what happened here,” adding that “there’s nothing at wrong with a political party saying hey let's come together to win this election.”

Sounding fatalistic, Carville ruled that defeating Donald Trump is “the most important thing that we can do, maybe in American history for all I know.” Therefore, he reiterated his demand for the primary race to end:

[W]e got to get out of here fast and we can — we got to get — you know, Vice President Biden’s campaign’s got to organize itself toward November. We can't be, you know, bouncing around, locally gagging around the country now. We've got a real job to do and the party is ready to get on with the job. 

Before signing off, Carville boasted that voters “weren't looking at his nuanced position or what he voted in 1994 or anything like that” but stopping Trump since “we're in a unique time unlike anything I’ve ever seen in American politics where the desire to beat the incumbent, Trump's ideology or anything else” was the mission.

He continued, reflecting back to earlier in the primary (click “expand”):

You remember in early February when I was in Miami and I was panicked and I just couldn't take it anymore and it — and it — I did not see this thing ending — I'll be honest with you. I've — I’m gratified the way it ended. We got our nominee. We're ready to go on. Again, it was an outright favorability for our candidate within the party is very good and, you know, they tried to do everything they could to knock the Vice President Biden out to race, including phony investigations and everything else. 

So, he — he’s the person that we're going with, and that's where we are and you know, maybe I would have wanted Michael Bennet or something like that. Forget all that. Forget everything. We've got one mission right now, be united and we've got to win this thing and we've got to energize people and Corporal Carville’s reporting for duty right now. 

To see the relevant MSNBC transcript from March 10, click “expand.”

MSNBC’s Decision 2020: Super Tuesday 2
March 10, 2020
9:30 p.m. Eastern

BRIAN WILLIAMS: What are the voters saying tonight? What needs to happen right now? 

JAMES CARVILLE: They're saying something very clearly and my tip of a hat to Guy Fox. Remember, remember, this is all about November. These voters want to shut this thing down. I mean, you can just look all across the spectrum of the Democratic Party and people are saying we've made our decision, this is who we going with and Senator Sanders may not break threshold in Mississippi. He’s at 15.3 right now. We've got to acknowledge that he created a movement, he did some — some — some truly remarkable things in American politics and certainly Vice President Biden wants to talk to him and discuss this but also we can't — we can’t ditch these Democratic voters who are coming out in every corner of this country saying let's get on with this thing. Our mission, as a party, is to defeat Donald Trump. According to FiveThirtyEight, there's a 99 and a 1 chance that — that Vice President Biden is going on the nominee. Let’s shut this puppy down and let’s move on and worry about November. This thing is decided. There's no reason to keep it going not even a day longer. 

(....)

9:32 p.m. Eastern

CARVILLE: It’s the Democratic voters that made this decision. It’s the — Vice President Biden is not trying to force him out. You've got to respect voters. You respect the people in south Carolina and Virginia and Michigan and all the places they're working. I mean, yes, they have to have respect, they have to have respect for democracy and this is very clear what — what Democrats around the country are saying and just everywhere that you go, they want change. We’ve got to get rid of this guy. What are we doing? And these are not ordinary times, and we've got to — you know, of course, the vice president, he's the guy in the lead. He's got to take the lead here. We've got to bring this party together. We have got to stop this. This is not any avail to continue this thing any longer. It really isn't and we can have respect and we can have admiration for what's Senator Sanders has established but you've got to respect the Democratic voters. You've got to respect people in — in the Mississippi Delta, in Sunflower County, Mississippi. You got to respect people in Oakland County, Michigan. You've got to respect people in Orangeburg, South Carolina. You've got to respect people in Loudoun County, Virginia. I mean, this is what this is about. The Democratic voters have spoken. They've spoken unambiguously and clearly and they need to be listened to. 

RACHEL MADDOW: What can and should the Biden campaign and the Sanders campaign do to try to smooth over hard feelings and to smooth over the divide that emerged during the primary so that Senator Sanders voters don't sit home in November? 

CARVILLE: So, right now Senator Sanders and Biden are more popular in the Democratic Party than Donald Trump was in the Republican Party in a comparable time in 2016. Both of them have favorable opinions among Democrats of about 70 to 20. No Democrat wants this to go on. They — they — our voters have made a determination. The — Vice President Biden should call senator Sanders and say let's have a conversation here, senator. What do we do to get this thing moving in the right direction? But it seems to me that we're — and I — I agree we have to be respectful to the Sanders campaign, but I wish we would talk more about respect for Democratic voters who are casting their ballots and they're very clear and very distinct about what they're saying and they have been to respected too. I'm speaking for them. I'm speaking for these guys in the Mississippi delta. I'm speaking for — for these suburban women in Virginia. They're the ones saying this, not me. 

NICOLLE WALLACE: James, I — I — I hear you. I also hear and see this opportunity for Joe Biden to actually take himself to the general electorate as someone who truly won without a campaign. He didn't have a campaign in Super Tuesday states. 

CARVILLE: Right. He didn’t.

WALLACE: He’s — he's the first real grass roots candidate of the — I mean, I guess trump was too. He had a plane and hope hicks, but Biden — Biden had nothing and so I actually see the respect piece going the other way. Bernie Sanders has been insulting African-American voters in South Carolina, insulting Pete Buttigieg, insulting everyone that endorsed him, saying someone twisted their arm, but when you ask him who did that, they have no answer. 

CARVILLE: Look, it's clear the Democratic Party was not waiting on a phone bank, they were not waiting on somebody. They were looking for somebody who could get around and beat Donald Trump and that's exactly what happened here. The greatest motivator for Democratic turnout is the fact that they want to win this election and there's nothing wrong, by the way, there's nothing at all wrong with a political party saying hey let's come together to win this election. It's the most important thing that we can do, maybe in American history for all I know. But there's nothing unambiguous here. There's — there’s no — there’s no other interpretation. And, I, you know, Vice President Biden is a man that's been around politics for a long time. He's a man of considerable personal charm. I think he and Senator Sanders know each other well. Hopefully — they both have high approval rating in the democratic party. The party on the macro level that's come out of this thing much better than I would have hoped or thought but I'm glad to be surprised on the upside, but we got to get out of here fast and we can — we got to get — you know, Vice President Biden’s campaign’s got to organize itself toward November. We can't be, you know, bouncing around, locally gagging around the country now. We've got a real job to do and the party is ready to get on with the job. 

(....)

9:38 p.m. Eastern

CARVILLE: Well, I mean, I think what happened is let's just take Medicare for All. Many Democrats might agree with it, but it was concluded that this was an electoral illusion and that ended it and we're in a unique time unlike anything I've ever seen in American politics where the desire to beat the incumbent, Trump's ideology or anything else, this is something that is new and Nicolle points out, Joe Biden had no campaign, the stuff that we do and you organize events and have a headquarters and you phone bank people and you contract out the voter contacts stuff, there’s none of that. As soon as South Carolina — as soon as James Clyburn dropped the hammer and the votes came in South Carolina, look what happened in Northern Virginia, look what happened in Wade County, North Carolina. All of a sudden all these — these educated white women were voting like crazy for the Democrats because they're saying hey, that's the guy who can — can — can win the election. He's got the support of the base of the Democratic Party. So this is where we are. They weren't looking at his nuanced position or what he voted in 1994 or anything like that. They’re just — it was just on a macro sense this is what's happening in American politics. I have never seen this happen in all of my time in politics where it is driven by just a desire to win an election. Remember, remember, it's all about November. 

WILLIAMS: James, we were in this studio in 2016. We were on the air. You were talking with us —

CARVILLE: Oh god.

WILLIAMS: — when we called Florida for Donald Trump and since that time, let's just say you've been in a Carville trough of sorts and including this campaign, you've been kind of morose about the state, of the party. Tonight you seem energized. Would that be a proper conclusion? 

CARVILLE: That is and that’s sincere. You remember in early February when I was in Miami and I was panicked and I just couldn't take it anymore and it — and it — I did not see this thing ending — I'll be honest with you. I've — I’m gratified the way it ended. We got our nominee. We're ready to go on. Again, it was an outright favorability for our candidate within the party is very good and, you know, they tried to do everything they could to knock the Vice President Biden out to race, including phony investigations and everything else. So, he — he’s the person that we're going with, and that's where we are and you know, maybe I would have wanted Michael Bennet or something like that. Forget all that. Forget everything. We've got one mission right now, be united and we've got to win this thing and we've got to energize people and Corporal Carville’s reporting for duty right now. 

NB Daily Campaigns & Elections 2020 Presidential Liberals & Democrats MSNBC Other MSNBC James Carville Joe Biden Bernie Sanders Donald Trump
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