I’ve argued for some time now that Tucker Carlson is one of the most dangerous figures in America today. The Fox News host is now the respectable face of the Alt Right movement in America, and provides Trump supporters with an intellectual framework for their bigotry and racism on a daily basis.
Carlson spends a considerable amount of time on his show mischaracterizing liberals and accusing them of taking positions they aren’t arguing for. Carlson’s intellectual dishonesty is breathtaking to watch, and it follows a formula he has perfected for his show. Carlson usually invites an ill prepared college kid onto his show, refuses to let them speak, distorts their views, and then ends the interview by summarizing the exchange as a clear victory for himself.
Alt Right bros around the country revel in this sort of stuff. Youtube videos with titles like “Tucker Carlson OWNS socialist”, or “Tucker Carlson DESTROYS Hillary Clinton liberal” rack up hundreds of thousands of views, adding to Carlson’s rep as a lefty bashing hero.
Refusing to see what is happening to his country under Donald Trump, Carlson is convinced liberals are the most dangerous threat to the future of America. No matter how bad Trump’s presidency gets, how deranged the president’s behavior becomes, nothing detracts Carlson from his message: liberalism will destroy the country, and the only way to stop it is to vote for Republicans (and thus support Trump).
Presently, Carlson is extremely worried that the country might be turning blue, and is now rehashing shopworn Republican conspiracy theories about immigrant voter fraud. Carlson believes that Texas might swing to the left in the upcoming midterms, and rightly recognizes that if it does, the Democrats will regain control of the country for decades to come. He tweeted this yesterday before his show that featured more fear mongering about massive voter fraud in the historic Republican stronghold:
If you really cared about representative democracy, you'd be vigilant about stopping voter fraud. Instead the left actively abets it. What progressives really care about is power. They hate the fact you took some of theirs by voting for Trump. They want it back. By any means.
— Tucker Carlson (@TuckerCarlson) March 28, 2018
His evidence for this? An investigation by the Republican Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton that uncovered 165 supposed cases of illegal voters across 4 counties:
“It kind makes you wonder what’s happening in the state’s other 250 counties?” said Carlson on his show, recorded earlier this month. “We don’t know, we can guess.”
So let’s do some guessing then. Firstly, outside of the right wing outlets reporting on this supposedly massive scandal, we don’t actually know too much about Paxton’s investigation and what it has actually uncovered. Based on public record however, there hasn’t been much. Thus far, a total of 3 people have been brought up on charges by the Texas Attorney General.
Secondly, let’s extrapolate from Carlson’s original 165 illegal voters claim in the 4 counties in the investigation. We’ll be exceedingly generous to Carlson and assume that the other 250 states have similar demographics and an equal number of non-citizens trying to vote illegally. That means there could potentially be a total of 41,910 illegal votes for the midterms this year. Texas has and estimated voting age population of 19,307,355, and 15,015,700 registered voters. So let’s continue being generous to Carlson and use only the registered voters number to assess the percentage, which comes to 0.28%. As Carlson pointed out, Hillary Clinton lost the state to Trump by 800,000 votes, so even if the illegal votes are as significant as Carlson claims they are, any significant ground gained by Democrats in 2018 won’t be because of voter fraud — it will be because Trump and the Republican Party are in a death spiral of their own making. So even using Carlson’s “best case scenario” for his toxic little theory, his claims are completely redundant.
It is hard to know whether Carlson is aware of how disingenuous he is being, but it seems likely that he does. Carlson’s viewing numbers are climbing rapidly on Fox, which is almost certainly due to the network’s shameless support for Trump and the Breitbartization of its programming. Race baiting sells, and Tucker Carlson has found a way to package it for the masses.
“It is close now to racism, white — I mean, I don’t know if it’s racism exactly — but ethno-nationalism of some kind, let’s call it,” said Bill Kristol earlier this year of Carlson’s show. “A combination of dumbing down, as you said earlier, and stirring people’s emotions in a very unhealthy way.”
I’ve previously shied away from calling Carlson a racist, but when you’ve lost Bill Kristol, it’s probably safe to say you probably are one.
Ben Cohen is the editor and founder of The Daily Banter. He lives in Washington DC where he does podcasts, teaches Martial Arts, and tries to be a good father. He would be extremely disturbed if you took him too seriously.