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U.S. President Joe Biden speaks about COVID-19, on the North Lawn of the White House, April 27, 2021, in Washington.

Evan Vucci/The Associated Press

After four years of Donald Trump’s divisiveness and lies, you might think Americans would be over the moon to once again have an honest and competent leader in the White House.

Surprise. They are not that thrilled with Joe Biden. While the new Democratic President has maintained a higher approval rating than Mr. Trump did during his first 100 days in office, he remains less popular than Barack Obama, George W. Bush and Bill Clinton were at this point in their presidencies. And that has some Democrats fearing a rough road ahead for their party.

In truth, the warning signs have been obvious for Democrats since Mr. Biden’s somewhat narrow electoral win in November. Overall, Mr. Biden got seven million more votes than Mr. Trump, thanks to massive margins of victory in big and solidly blue states, such as California and New York. But the election would have gone the other way had fewer than 50,000 voters in a handful of critical swing states voted for Mr. Trump instead of Mr. Biden. That is nothing to crow about.

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For former Clinton adviser James Carville, the Democrats are at risk of blowing their majority in the House of Representatives and losing the Senate (where each party currently has 50 seats) in next year’s mid-term elections unless they stop talking down to average voters.

Joe Biden is approaching 100 days in office. Has the presidency changed him?

Joe Biden has had the best start of any presidency in almost a century

“We won the White House against a world-historical buffoon. And we came within 42,000 votes of losing. We lost congressional seats. We didn’t pick up state legislatures,” Mr. Carville told Vox in an interview this week in which he harshly criticized his party’s progressive wing. “So let’s not have an argument about whether or not we’re off-key in our messaging. We are. And we’re off because there’s too much jargon and there’s too much esoterica and it turns people off.”

Mr. Carville, 76, thinks his party has gone off the rails by adopting the language of urban elites and racial warriors who have little in common with average Americans or the people they claim to be fighting for. Nowhere is this more evident than in the discussion surrounding systemic racism, which Mr. Carville complains is dominated by “faculty lounge” jargon.

“We have to talk about race. We should talk about racial injustice. What I’m saying is, we need to do it without using jargon-y language that’s unrecognizable to most people – including most Black people, by the way – because it signals that you’re trying to talk around them. This ‘too cool for school’ shit doesn’t work, and we have to stop it,” Mr. Carville told Vox.

The thing is, most Democrats know this and agree with Mr. Carville. But they are terrified of being “cancelled” by the wokes currently calling the shots on social media if they speak out. The fearful include Mr. Biden, who has embraced the language and policies of the left that he conspicuously avoided until becoming the 2020 Democratic presidential nominee. Now, he is stuck.

“Wokeness is a problem and everyone knows it,” Mr. Carville insisted. “It’s hard to talk to anybody today – and I talk to lots of people in the Democratic Party – who doesn’t say this. But they don’t want to say it out loud.”

Mr. Carville’s comments naturally struck a nerve with, well, wokes. They attacked him on social media and elsewhere for feeding anti-woke hatred, pulling the same trick they usually do by seeking to dismiss their critics as unenlightened bigots or worse. Any questioning of the paradigm wokes use to discuss race is, you see, evidence of the latent or overt racism of the questioner.

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The longer wokes continue to use such divisive and accusatory language, however, the more damage they risk inflicting on the Democratic Party and American political discourse. The country is already polarized enough without the left wing of the Democratic Party indulging in the fetish of wokeism.

Mr. Carville, who coined the phrase “It’s the economy, stupid” to keep Democrats on message during the 1992 election campaign, knows a thing or two about how politics works. He knows, for instance, that Republicans can go to town on militant comments made by progressive Democrats such as congresswomen Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Rashida Tlaib.

“[W]e can’t say, ‘Republicans are going to call us socialists no matter what, so let’s just run as out-and-out socialists.’ … And maybe tweeting that we should abolish the police isn’t the smartest thing to do because almost … no one wants to do that,” Mr. Carville warned in reference to an April 12 tweet in which Ms. Tlaib wrote “policing in our country is inherently & intentionally racist” and called for “no more policing, incarceration and militarization.”

The wokes are coming for Mr. Biden’s presidency.

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