Tucker Carlson continues to lose it. I’ve watched him losing it for a while. His white nationalism is on display nightly. But he ratchets it up when he pushes his “Great Replacement theory,” which holds that white Americans are being “replaced” by nonwhite immigrants, and Democrats are pushing open immigration policies to accelerate the process—because they expect these nonwhites to vote for them, giving them an eternal lock on political power.
On Tuesday night’s show, he went one step wackier, terming the Democrats’ alleged plans “electorate packing.” “The Democratic Party’s immigration policy is to change the population of the United States in a way that guarantees they win every election going forward,” he told his Fox News audience. “It’s an assault on democracy. Devalues your vote.”
Bizarrely, he claimed to find proof of that “electorate packing” in a piece by Washington Post columnist Jennifer Rubin about why Democrats should not give up on Texas, politically. (He also called her “the dumbest person ever to have a newspaper column”; he’s never had one.)
Carlson read one brief quote from the column: “Democratic hopes that demography would deliver Texas have not been wrong, but perhaps just premature. The 2020 congressional races suggested that while the fight for Hispanic votes remains competitive, the sprawling suburbs around major Texas cities are increasingly moderate.”
And that was his proof: “In other words, crows Jen Rubin, the Great Replacement plan is working! It’s helping the Democratic Party! That’s the whole point!”
Um, no, it’s not—not the point of Democratic Party immigration policies, or of Rubin’s column.
Even the snippet Carlson read aloud contradicted his own high-pitched assertions. If “the fight for Hispanic votes remains competitive”—and indeed, Republicans gained ground with Latinos as well as Black voters in 2020—it shows that the “Hispanic” vote is not reliably blue, as some analysts had predicted was inevitable. There’s no demographic determinism in Rubin’s sensible column; quite the opposite.
She goes on to find reasons for electoral optimism for Texas Democrats in surprising places—among Republicans. Two-thirds of Texas’s GOP voters believe abortion should be legal at least in cases of rape and incest, including a majority of Republicans; the shameful new Texas law makes it illegal. Texas Governor Greg Abbott is increasingly unpopular, even with GOP voters, and he has Republican primary challengers. Opinions there are even changing on guns, she wrote, citing polls showing that a majority of Texas voters support more gun safety laws.
But the point of the column was, I think, to argue that the lieutenant governorship candidacy of Matthew Dowd, a former Republican like herself, is a chance to draw sane Republicans away from Trumpism (and Trumpy Texas Lieutenant Governor Dan Patrick) and toward moderate Democrats in 2022. Fairness requires me to note that Dowd will have a primary challenger in longtime Texas Democrat Mike Collier, who came within 4.8 points of beating Patrick four years ago, and perhaps others.
Still: The whole point of the column was to point to unexpected places Texas Democrats could win votes, especially now that the Latino vote includes some cohorts that increasingly lean Republican.
So is Tucker’s nightly toxicity warping his brain and making it impossible to read, and reason? Was he just excited to be able to blast a woman on air, to call her stupid, and diminish her with a little nickname, “Jen”? Oh, and describe her measured writing as crowing?
Carlson has previously depicted his paranoid vision of voter-replacement as part of Joe Biden’s grand plan, but in his telling it’s because the “replacements” are “more obedient:”
“His policy is called the Great Replacement, the replacement of the legacy of Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries. They brag about it all the time, but if you dare to say it’s happening, they will scream at you with maximum hysteria.”
“More obedient”? At other times, Carlson depicts immigrants as criminals. Get it straight, Tucker.
Tough Tucker has beaten back criticism of his replacement nonsense repeatedly. When the ADL called for him to be fired over it last month, he fired back, “Fuck them!” in an interview with Megyn Kelly. On Tuesday night, he called his critics “liars and dummies.” He’s undaunted.
He’s also, increasingly, unhinged. The replacement theory first became somewhat familiar to Americans in 2017, when those Nazis in khakis, carrying their moms’ Tiki torches, bizarrely marched and chanted, “You will not replace us,” peppered in with “Jews will not replace us,” in Charlottesville. The replacement theory is a bizarre intersection of ugly racism and throwback misogyny. Part of the reason “they” can replace “us,” according to the über-theory, is not only “electorate packing” by Democrats. It’s that white women, in the United States and elsewhere, aren’t having enough babies.
Carlson’s favorite fetish, it turns out, also shows up in racist, sexist manifestos by the creeps behind the 2018 Christchurch massacre in New Zealand and the 2019 El Paso massacre here. It’s not edgy; it’s dangerous. I think it’s almost inevitable that more people will be murdered as a result.
There’s a Venn diagram in which Nazis, sexists, incels, and Tucker Carlson overlap in replacement-theory land. I wish we could find a tarp big enough to throw over them, cart them to a remote place, and forget about them. But I don’t think defeating them will be that easy.
Mocking them will, though. So let’s mock them until we find a long-term strategy.