Columnist details the 'two big deceptions' in Tucker Carlson's endorsement of a racist conspiracy theory
Tucker Carlson doubles down on his belief in replacement theory: "Demographic change is the key to the Democratic party's political ambitions. In order to win and maintain power, Democrats plan to change the population of the country." pic.twitter.com/sOhbjRISxH— nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 13, 2021
Fox News' Tucker Carlson has drawn a great deal of criticism recently for promoting a racist conspiracy theory that is common among white supremacists and white nationalists: "the Great Replacement," which claims that liberals and progressives — especially those who are Jewish — are importing non-whites from developing countries in order to "replace" them. Liberal opinion writer Greg Sargent addresses Carlson's latest controversy in his Washington Post column this week, laying out some reasons why the far-right pundit's views on immigration are so wrong-headed.
The Great Replacement Theory isn't limited to the United States. In France, it is a widely held belief among members of the National Front — the far-right party led by Marine Le Pen, who lost to President Emmanuel Macron in France's 2017 presidential election. But whether it's being championed by Le Pen in France or Carlson in the U.S., the theory's basic premise — that whites are being "replaced" by non-whites by design — is the same.
Sargent notes that on Monday night, Carlson "doubled down" on Great Replacement ideology, "insisting that his comments were entirely race-neutral and that they were only about defending the 'voting rights' of U.S. citizens."
"But if anything," Sargent writes, "Carlson's defense reveals his worldview as the one that's truly hostile to democracy. And that in turn unmasks the ideological underbelly of the broader right-wing populist nationalist movement that he and his defenders champion."
Sargent goes on to lay out the flaws in Carlson's views on immigration.
"There are two big deceptions here," Sargent explains. "The first is that Democrats want to increase immigration only for cynical electoral purposes. In fact, those who favor more legal immigration have defended it on normative and pragmatic grounds…. Carlson's basic premise — that there's something untoward about wanting to bring more immigrants into one's political coalition — is unwittingly revealing."
Another major flaw in Carlson's thinking, according to Sargent, is that immigrants will automatically become card-carrying Democrats.
"It's strange that Carlson presumes the GOP has no chance at winning these particular immigrants," Sargent writes. "Doesn't that cut against the interpretation of the 2020 election — in which Latinos shifted Republican — holding that right-wing populism can effect a multiracial, conservative realignment of the working class? But the deepest deception of all concerns the notion that bringing in immigrants — or legalizing undocumented ones already here — is by definition a threat to the power of the existing citizenry's voting rights."
It should be noted that some of the Karl Rove-era Republicans of the 1990s and 2000s didn't view immigrants as hostile to the interests of the GOP. If anything, GOP strategist Rove and his allies — including former President George W. Bush and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush, who speaks fluent Spanish and is married to a Mexican woman — were of the view that Latino immigrants can be quite receptive to conservative ideas when exposed to them.
Trumpism, however, pushed the GOP in a more nationalist and isolationist direction. And Carlson has been a major proponent of Trumpist ideology.
"In his monologue," Sargent writes, "Carlson declares that on immigration's impact on democracy, 'America badly deserves a national conversation.' Too bad he and his pals are so cagey about what they really believe."
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