Former President Barack Obama recently shared his thoughts on the state of the Democratic Party during an appearance on one of America's top podcasts.
Joining his former staffers on their podcast "Pod Save America," Obama spoke about how Democrats can be a "buzzkill," and are often too quick to irritate people and be easily offended.
In Obama's opinion, this can lead to people being turned off by Democratic candidates.
How does politics even... how is it even relevant to the things that I care most deeply about?" Obama asked on the podcast. "My family, my kids, work that gives me satisfaction, having fun, not being a buzzkill, right?”
And sometimes Democrats are, right? You know, sometimes, people just want to not feel as if they are walking on eggshells," Obama continued. "And they want some acknowledgment that life is messy and that all of us at any given moment can say things the wrong way, make mistakes."
Obama isn't the only Democrat to warn against the practice of being too "politically correct" or "woke." Comedian and HBO show host Bill Maher has repeatedly pushed back against perceived "wokeness," warning it would cost Democrats votes.
Democrat and political consultant James Carville has also warned Democrats about being too focused on being "woke."
We’re letting a noisy wing of our party define the rest of us," Carville told CNN in 2021. "And my point is we can’t do that. I think these people are all kind of nice people. I think they’re very naive, and they’re all into language and identity. And that’s all right. They’re not storming the Capitol. But they’re not winning elections."
During an interview with PBS in Nov. 2021, Carville cited the "defund the police" and some political losses Democrats suffered as evidence that "wokeness" had hurt the party.
I mean, this ‘defund the police’ lunacy, this take Abraham Lincoln’s name off of schools. I mean that – people see that," Carville reportedly said. "Some of these people need to go to a ‘woke’ detox center or something. They’re expressing a language that people just don’t use, and there’s backlash and a frustration at that."
But Obama and Carville apparently differ a bit in approach to how Democrats should handle their party's "wokeness." While Carville seemingly wishes to see the party cleanse itself somewhat of being "woke," Obama said during his Pod save America appearance that he wants Democrats to show more patience and work with those who are perhaps not as up to speed with being "woke" as others. As an example, Obama presents his mother-in-law:
She’s 86, you know, and sometimes trying to get the right phraseology when we’re talking about issues," Obama explained on the podcast. "Michelle’s like, that’s like her trying to learn Spanish. It doesn’t mean she shouldn’t try to learn Spanish, but it means that sometimes she’s not gonna get the words right. And that’s OK, right?"
On the Republican side, former U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo thinks "wokeness" is putting America's military at "real risk."
Republican politicians have also cashed in on the "anti-woke" movement, with Florida's governor Ron DeSantis even promising his constituents that his state is where "woke goes to die."
What I’ve said is the state of Florida is the place where woke goes to die," DeSantis said at a press conference in August. "We are not going to let this state descend into some type of woke dumpster fire. We’re going to be following common sense, we’re going to be following facts."
Being understanding and patient with people will help Democrats, Obama believes, as that approach is "a little more real and a little more grounded."
Being less of a "buzzkill" and more calm "goes a long way in counteracting what is the systematic propaganda that I think is being pumped out by Fox News and all these other outlets all the time," Obama added on the podcast.
Pod Save America is hosted by former Obama aides Jon Favreau, Jon Lovett, Dan Pfeiffer and Tommy Vietor. The podcast earns an average of 1.5 million listeners per episode.