The columnist and author spoke with CNN’s Anderson Cooper Wednesday night about what he sees as flaws in Dems’ policy proposals and messaging
New York Times columnist Tom Friedman spoke openly Wednesday night that he believed Democrats were struggling in election campaigns in states like Arizona and Virginia.
“The party has gone too far for this country that is still center-right and centre-left,” Friedman said during an appearance with CNN host Anderson Cooper.
For example, Friedman said, the death of George Floyd in police custody in May 2020 drew public attention to the need to make real changes to policing across America — but he claimed that progressive Democrats took the opportunity by proposing ideas. Lost that the public rejected.
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Friedman said of American public opinion, “They were really open to solutions for both ends—both better policing and more policing in neighborhoods that are really suffering from horrific gun violence.”
“And what did the progressives offer first? Defying the police and outlawing the police,” Friedman continued. “What a wasted moment. The country was ready for a civil rights movement on both sides and was doomed. I’m sorry.”
Friedman then claimed that progressives were making a similar mistake with their economic proposals.
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“My God, people don’t want democratic socialism,” Friedman said. “They just don’t want to hear that we’re helping people who are hurting — yes, we should be helping them,” but he claimed that Democrats focused too much on “cheap” social safety net proposals. were potentially costing trillions of dollars, rather than a bipartisan-negotiated infrastructure deal, which he called a potential “launching pad” plan to foster public-private partnerships for economic growth.
Friedman accused Democrats of thwarting messaging about the infrastructure deal.
“It’s so exciting what they’re trying to sell, and they’ve sold it very poorly,” Friedman said of Democrats’ efforts to pass the bipartisan plan.
He said the bipartisan agreement – along with the outcome of the January 6 Capitol riots – should have been enough to propel Democrats to electoral victory in further campaigns – but instead the party found itself behind.
“Democrats must ask themselves, ‘How can we lose when we have a big plan and they are all? [Republicans] Big lie?”
Earlier in the segment, Cooper played a clip of Arizona GOP governor primary frontrunner Kari Lake, calling the clip “super depressing.” In the clip, Lake accuses CNN of distorting its news coverage of Arizona election issues, including an audit of the 2020 presidential election.
“You have a narrative and you’re trying to push it,” Lake said of CNN.
Later, Friedman claimed that Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Virginia should be far ahead in his race, but instead political observers were wondering if he could “scream” for victory.