New York Times columnist Tom Friedman spoke candidly Wednesday night about why he believed Democrats were struggling in election campaigns in states like Arizona and Virginia

"The party has gone too far to the left for this country that is still center-right and center-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 captured the attention of the public for a need to make real changes in policing throughout the U.S.  – but he claimed progressive Democrats squandered the opportunity by proposing ideas that the public rejected.

"They were really open for a both-ends solution -- both better policing and more policing in neighborhoods that are really suffering from terrible gun violence," Friedman said about American public opinion.

"And what did the progressives offer first? Defund the police and delegitimize police," Friedman continued. "What a wasted moment. The country was ready for a both-ends civil rights movement and it was squandered. I’m sorry."

Friedman then claimed progressives were making a similar mistake with their economic proposals.

"My God, people don’t want democratic socialism," Friedman said. "They don’t just want to hear that we’re helping people that are hurting – yes, we must help them," but he claimed Democrats were too focused on "giveaway" social safety net proposals, potentially costing trillions of dollars, rather than the bipartisan-negotiated infrastructure deal, which he called a potential "launching pad" plan for spurring public-private partnerships for economic growth.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is seen in a photo illustration with an image of the newspaper's headquarters building in New York City.

New York Times columnist Tom Friedman is seen in a photo illustration with an image of the newspaper's headquarters building in New York City. (Getty Images)

Friedman accused the Democrats of botching the messaging regarding the infrastructure deal. 

"This is so exciting what they’re trying to sell, and they’ve so poorly sold it," Friedman said of the Democrats’ efforts to pass the bipartisan plan.

He said the bipartisan deal – coupled with fallout from the Jan. 6 Capitol riot -- should have been enough to propel the Democrats to election victories in the campaigns ahead – but instead the party found itself falling behind.

"Democrats should be asking themselves, ‘How the hell could we be losing when we have a big plan and all they [Republicans] have is a big lie?"


Earlier in the segment, Cooper ran a clip of Arizona GOP gubernatorial primary frontrunner Kari Lake, calling the clip "super depressing." In the clip Lake accused CNN of distorting its news coverage of the Arizona election issues, including its audit of the 2020 presidential election.

"You’ve got a narrative and you’re trying to push it," Lake said of CNN.

Later, Friedman claimed Democratic gubernatorial candidate Terry McAuliffe in Virginia should be far ahead in his race but instead political observers were wondering if he could "squeak by" to a victory.

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