Some people are trouble. One of them is Tucker Carlson – CNN got rid of him – Jon Stewart called him a dangerous fool to his face – and then MSNBC picked him up and then dropped him as quickly as they could. He was a total jerk. He was a predictably irritating contrarian. He was too simpleminded. Anything someone liked, he hated. Anything any others believed was a lie. He alone saw that and saw that those other people were fools – and he’ll tell them so to their face. He was good at mocking others. That was his gift. That may be what he does best. And that’s why he ended up at Fox News. Now he’s their big star. Bigger than Sean Hannity.
President Trump loved him. Trump would call him for advice. That made Trump feel comfortable and, he hoped, wise. After all, Carlson maintained that Trump was right about everything – except, perhaps, he was not mean enough to immigrants now and then, or not mean enough to gays, or uppity black folks, or uppity women, Trump did disappoint Carlson now and then. Trump really should have been more like Putin. Trump never did lock up Hillary.
But that doesn’t matter now. Trump is gone. Carlson isn’t. Fox News knew they had found their new star. Their key demographic is angry anxious white men at least seventy years old who worry a lot about everything. Young Carlson tells them that they’re right to worry. No one needs Trump now. Tucker has got this. He’ll tell them what’s what. The world is out to get those old White guys.
Tucker says so. This is the post-Trump world, and Business Insider explains how that works:
Fox News host Tucker Carlson, one of the most influential voices on the political right, explicitly endorsed the white supremacist “Great Replacement” theory during his Thursday night program.
Carlson argued that Democratic lawmakers are “importing a brand-new electorate” of “Third World” immigrants to “dilute” Americans’ political power by adding more voters to the rolls. He described his argument as the so-called replacement theory, which is a core belief of white supremacists that has motivated racist violence and mass murder in the US and around the world.
Perhaps only the right sort of people be allowed to vote, from now on, finally:
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate – the voters now casting ballots – with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson told his audience, which is among the largest in cable news. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.”
Those people are replacing us! But still, he’s not a racist:
Carlson argued that his comments aren’t racialized, despite the fact that the vast majority of the conservative voters he’s defending are white and the immigrants he’s demonizing are largely people of color. The Fox host is making his argument in the context of Democratic efforts to create pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are from Mexico and Central and South America.
But it’s not racist, maybe:
White nationalists and others on the far-right have long espoused the “Great Replacement” and “white genocide” conspiracy theories to whip up racial resentment. In 2017, neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”
“If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there,” Carlson said on Thursday. “So every time they import a new voter, I’d become disenfranchised as a current voter … Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. Oh, white replacement. No. This is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they’re importing a brand-new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?”
A Fox News spokesperson told Insider that Carlson wasn’t endorsing the “white replacement” theory, but instead making an argument about voting rights.
No one believed that:
Carlson’s “replacement” comments were quickly denounced by human rights advocates and critics.
The Anti-Defamation League called for Carlson’s resignation or firing. The head of the Jewish rights group, Jonathan Greenblatt, called the theory “a white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites.”
“It is antisemitic, racist and toxic. It has informed the ideology of mass shooters in El Paso, Christchurch and Pittsburgh,” he said. “Tucker must go.”
Fox News loves that sort if thing. That’s where the money is, but Jonathan Chait sees this:
When Nazis marched in Charlottesville in 2017, they chanted “You will not replace us!” and, somewhat more clarifying, “Jews will not replace us!” The terrorist who gunned down 51 people in Christchurch, New Zealand, used this slogan (“The Great Replacement”) in his manifesto. Last night, Tucker Carlson appeared on a prime-time Fox News show to defend this theory, not only in substance but also by name.
Yes, he did that:
“Replacement theory” imagines that an elite cabal, frequently described as Jewish, is plotting to “replace” the native white population with non-white immigrants, who will pollute and destroy the white Christian culture.
But that’s the whole problem here:
Carlson’s argument is cretinously stupid even by the standards of a Tucker Carlson monologue. He simply asserts that immigration expands the electorate, and therefore dilutes the political power of the existing population:
It’s a voting-rights question. In a democracy, one person equals one vote. If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there. So every time they import a new voter, I become disenfranchised as a current voter.
Note that he is not merely arguing against illegal immigration. He is arguing against any immigration. Carlson proposes that any new U.S. citizen reduces the political power of the current population.
And that’s absurd:
When the Constitution was ratified, the United States had fewer than 4 million people, and 13 states. By Carlson’s standard, the last 200 years have been a continuous process of disenfranchisement of that original population. Immigration is a complex issue, and it is obviously possible to support restrictions on either legal or illegal immigration without being racist. But Carlson’s point implies that any immigration, legal or illegal, politically disempowers all Americans.
Yet he’s not arguing for zero immigration. All he’s doing is framing immigration as some kind of zero-sum attack on the native population.
But it’s not only that:
The most significant part of Carlson’s monologue is his decision to name-check replacement theory as the description of his ideas:
I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term “replacement,” if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate – the voters now casting ballots – with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World. But they become hysterical because that’s what happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.
It’s actually not true. The most generous possible read of this comment is that Carlson lacks the intelligence to understand the word “replacement.”
Yes, that should be explained:
When you replace someone, you remove them from their current position. My employer hires new writers pretty often. If they fired me and gave my job to a new writer, that would be replacement. If they just created a new job, and assigned the writers to work alongside me, that would not be replacement.
Immigration is not like replacement, because it does not involve deporting the current population.
Of course Carlson is intelligent enough to understand the definition of a grade-school term like “replacement.” The reason he’s using it is quite sinister. He could simply make standard issue, non-racist arguments for lower levels of legal immigration, or perhaps more stringent border security. Instead he actively wants to frame his ideas in terms that appeal to white supremacists.
That does seem to be what this is about:
One of the most profound and dangerous developments of the Trump era is that the Republican Party and its affiliated media has extended the rightward boundaries of its coalition to include self-styled white supremacists. They may not be the mainstream of the Republican Party, but they are a part of it. Carlson has been appealing to them for years with wink-and-nod messages that dovetail with their paranoid themes.
Last night his embrace of white supremacy crossed an important and dangerous new threshold.
Max Boot adds this:
Tucker Carlson, the top-rated host on Fox “News” Channel, has been attracting attention for a while with his vile rhetoric against immigrants. Yet now he’s reached a new low.
Carlson is a child of privilege: His father is a wealthy businessman and former ambassador, his stepmother an heiress to the Swanson frozen food fortune, and he grew up in the tony precincts of La Jolla, California. And now he is becoming richer and more famous than he already was by consistently abusing some of the least fortunate and most vulnerable among us – especially immigrants from non-European countries…
Carlson has a long history of ugly statements. He has called Iraqis “semiliterate primitive monkeys“ and said that Afghanistan is “never going to be a civilized country because the people aren’t civilized.” He has complained that an influx of poor immigrants “makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.” He has repeatedly described immigration as an “invasion,” and called the urgent threat posed by white supremacists a “hoax“ and “a conspiracy theory used to divide the country and keep a hold on power.”
So this is more of the same:
The Guardian noted in 2019 that there were already disturbing parallels between Carlson’s rhetoric and that of white supremacist killers in El Paso, Tex., and Christchurch, New Zealand. For example, in one of his books, Carlson wrote: “When confronted or pressed for details, [proponents of diversity] retreat into a familiar platitude, which they repeat like a Zen koan: diversity is our strength. But is diversity our strength? The less we have in common, the stronger we are? Is that true of families? Is that true in neighborhoods or businesses? Of course not.”
And here is what the fiend who killed 51 people at two Christchurch mosques said in his manifesto: “Why is diversity said to be our greatest strength? Does anyone even ask why? It is spoken like a mantra and repeated ad infinitum…. But no one ever seems to give a reason why. What gives a nation strength? And how does diversity increase that strength?”
On Thursday night, Carlson moved even closer to white supremacist ideology by explicitly endorsing the Great Replacement theory…
And a bit more detail:
“This may be a lot of things, this moment we are living through,” Mr. Carlson said at the time. “But it is definitely not about Black lives, and remember that when they come for you. And at this rate, they will.”
And that leads to this:
A number of cities across the U.S. are preparing for far-right “White Lives Matter” marches taking place on April 11 which are being coordinated by extremists online.
The white supremacist rallies are being discussed on social media and encrypted messaging app Telegram, with dozens of events planned to take place at 1 p.m. in cities including New York, Fort Worth, Texas, and Chicago, Illinois.
The details surrounding the marches are minimal, with a majority not providing details such as a specific location. Many dedicated channels for marches in cities also only have a few subscribers and barely any discussion.
So maybe this isn’t much to worry about, maybe:
There is no real suggestion the marches—if they even take place—will be anywhere near as highly attended as the deadly “Unite the Right” in which thousands of neo-Nazis, Ku Klux Klan members and far-right extremists took to the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, in August 2017.
However, police forces in cities where an actual location has been discussed online are bracing themselves for any potential violence stemming from the event or counter-protest against it.
In North Carolina, there are two planned white supremacist marches taking place at the same time on April 11—at Nash Square in Raleigh and The Zebulon Baird Vance Monument in Asheville.
But it’s not much different out here:
In California, officials have spoken about the “White Lives Matter” march which is said to be taking place in front of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Concerns about the white supremacist event have coincided with the recent appearance of a number of KKK flyers in the city and neighboring Newport Beach, including ones promoting the April 11 rally.
In a statement, the Huntington Beach Police Department confirmed that they are taking measures to ensure public safety while “preserving the participants’ ability to exercise their Constitutional rights regardless of the message or ideology.”
“We hope events such as this will serve as an opportunity for unity rather than a platform to spread hate, bigotry and division,” the statement added.
“The City of Huntington Beach proudly stands by the values of diversity, equity and inclusion. Toward this end, the men and women of the Huntington Beach Police Department will professionally and impartially perform their duties. I can assure you that we will not tolerate any acts of violence or criminal behavior meant to intimidate others.”
But still, it’s best to be careful:
The Huntington Beach City Council approved an official counter-event in Central Park on April 18 aiming to promote diversity in response to the rally. The pro-diversity event will take place one week after “White Lives Matter” so it would not “pull safety resources from downtown,” on the same day, Councilwoman Natalie Moser said.
But the race wars are here. It has come to this.