Democratic political legend James Carville reacts to news that Sen. Bernie Sanders will win the Nevada presidential primary.
"The entire theory" put forward by Bernie Sanders "that by expanding the electorate, increasing turnout so you can win an election, is similar to climate denial," Carville said. "When people say that, they're as stupid to a political scientist as a climate denier is to an atmospheric scientist."
"If you want to vote for Bernie Sanders because you feel good about his program, you don't like the banks on Wall Street or you don't like pharmaceuticals, that's legitimate, I understand that. If you're voting for him because you think he'll win the election, politically, you're a fool."
BRIAN WILLIAMS: James Carville, first of all... . You just made the point very clearly that this race has on the Democratic side, a clearly defined front-runner, that is Bernie Sanders. Ergo what? What should that mean? What happens now?
JAMES CARVILLE: We're going to see a complete change in tenor on Monday night. If we don't, the field is really gone -- Bernie Sanders -- any time you become the front-runner, I remember when we were the front-runner in '92, we got all the heat, as we should. The New York Times wrote a Whitewater story, they didn't get a fact right. We're punching ahead. Meanwhile, the ABC/Washington Post poll comes out, Buttigieg is plus 17 against Trump with college-educated women and Sanders is at 2. These are the kinds of facts that people have to be presented with. We have two-thirds of the Nevada caucus-goers want to win the election -- I don't know if us in the media are sufficiently telling people the risks you're running by doing this. I think voters need to be appraised of what what's going on here.
Hopefully, these candidates have the skill and are able to do this. We have a week to go before South Carolina, and 48 hours later, you have Super Tuesday, things are going to be happening furious and fast. And we have to gear up an entirely different race than wat you've seen before.
The tenor has changed in this race. The ground has shifted. Strategic imperatives are now different, we're entering a different time and it's a very compressed and short time we're in this time frame. People had better get real. The campaigns need to stay up late. People better be thinking about how they are going to allocate scarce media resources. Some people are not going to make it for very long. That's just the nature of presidential politics. We have a lot of news here coming up in the next week, I promise you. A lot.
BRIAN WILLIAMS: James, you just mentioned the risk, talk about the risk and down-ballot races under a Sanders nominee?
JAMES CARVILLE: First of all, I -- I won't mention names so I don't get any number of calls from panicked congressional incumbents. I know what's happening out there, I got a real good idea. The entire theory that by expanding the electorate is a -- increasing turnout so you can win an election is similar to a climate denial. When people say that, they're as stupid to a political scientist as a climate denier is to an atmospheric scientist.
If you want to vote for Bernie Sanders because you feel good about his program, you don't like the banks on Wall Street or you don't like pharmaceuticals, that's legitimate, I understand that. If you're voting for him because you think he'll win the election, politically, you're a fool. And that's just a fact. It's no denying it, there's so much political science, so much research on this that it is not even a debatable question.
And if people are appraised of this, and they know that, and they want to do it as Democrats, that's their own business. I don't think they have all the facts they need before they make this judgment going forward.