Why Tucker Carlson’s recent embrace of the ‘big substitute’ is different


For decades, Tucker Carlson has developed a very special skill: proving he’s not wrong.

This has taken various forms, including starting a blog and spending countless hours arguing on cable TV. In recent years he has moved away from having to defend his positions on his show; An analysis by The New York Times found that he’s hosting fewer and fewer guests who disagree with him, to the point where he’s almost non-existent.

On Tuesday night’s show, Carlson turned his attention again to trying to prove his most controversial claim: that there is a deliberate effort to replace native-born Americans with immigrants. The outline of his argument was familiar, having been going back and forth for more than a year now.

But the special iteration offered on Tuesday was different. It was more direct, mirroring the arguments used and championed by white nationalists, it looped into a common anti-Semitic claim — and, critically, it all hinged on Carlson’s willful misrepresentation of how the political left views immigration.

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“Sometime around 1965, our leaders stopped trying to make the United States a hospitable place for American citizens, their constituents, to have their own families,” Carlson said. He isolated this year because it saw the passage of the Immigration and Nationality Act, legislation that he explained at the time reversed decades of severe restrictions on immigration into the United States. But it’s worth pausing to appreciate what Carlson is doing: He marks a shift toward welcoming migration as 1) an anti-American leadership failure and 2) an essential element in making America “inhospitable” to citizens .

Since 1965, the country’s population has grown, but this was “not the kind of organic growth you would see in a healthy society that has become more affluent and family-friendly.” Instead, it was “exactly the opposite”: growth through immigration. Putting aside, America is attractive to immigrants precisely because it is prosperous, had a healthy society, and even welcomed families from other countries. Instead, note that population growth was primarily a function of immigration only if you also count immigrants’ children and grandchildren as immigrants, even if they were born in the United States. If you think of immigration as a kind of stain:

When Carlson’s maternal ancestors came to America from Italy and had native-born children, it was the building of a great society. When will immigrants from Mexico, Central America and Asia arrive? The exact opposite.

Calling the 1965 law fundamentally naïve, Carlson cited Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-Mass.)’s defense: “The law will not flood our cities with immigrants,” Kennedy said. “It will not disrupt the ethnic mix of our society.”

But then he criticized political leaders for abandoning the need to meet the needs of American families and relying on “imported” population growth[ing] New people.” So what is it? Were the Democrats stupid? Lying? Intrigue?

This last option is at the heart of the “grand replacement theory,” the racist idea that the left deliberately encourages immigrants to come to the United States to undermine the native-born population. In Carlson’s framework, this is most clearly manifested in elections.

“You can’t just replace voters because you didn’t like the last election results,” he said Tuesday. “That would subvert the definition of democracy, change voters.” Again, note the quick connection to other right-wing frustrations: the Democrats are the real Insurgents because immigration!

But that’s also where Carlson’s rhetoric breaks down with the loudest bang. He played clips (as he has done before) of various Democrats talking about how demographic change will prove to be a boon for Democratic candidates going forward. Never mind that this claim has faltered from the left as Hispanic voters are beginning to shift to the right. Carlson takes this assertion—if X happens, Y will result—and reverses it: For Y to result, Democrats make X happen. First-year logic students can see the error here, but Carlson decides against it.

Nearly half of Republicans agree with the “grand replacement theory.”

This is almost certainly because he has been actively trying to defend his position over the past 14 months. Again, he’s not as skilled at anything as he’s trying to prove he’s right. When outside observers criticized and undermined his argument about trying to “replace” Native Americans with immigrants, he redoubled his efforts to prove himself right by pulling out these clips showing Democrats nodding to a predicted election win, and pretend this is proof that result was always intended.

“‘The Great Substitute,'” Carlson said, introducing the video snippets. “Yeah. It’s not a conspiracy theory. It’s their electoral strategy. And we know that because they see it all the time.”

Why else would President Biden call immigration a “gift” like he did during the campaign? Well, he said that specifically because immigrants make a huge contribution to the economy. But Carlson put it differently because he’s trying to prove he’s not wrong.

Carlson didn’t specifically say “great substitute” because that particular phrase is unmistakably associated with racist, anti-immigrant rhetoric. Now he uses it casually. defend it.

Carlson was very sensitive to accusations that he himself was sympathetic to white nationalism or held racist views, and went to great lengths to insist that this had nothing to do with race. It’s just that immigrants don’t speak English and are “functionally illiterate” (since they don’t read English) and “broke our laws to come here” (despite the fact that many haven’t) and that they all be taken over the land – isn’t that terrifying??!

Oh, and do you know who’s behind this?

“Fox News reports tonight that the government has awarded a $172 million grant to a George Soros-affiliated organization that exists to, quote, ‘help young frontier workers avoid deportation,'” Carlson said . “Why is a foreign-born billionaire allowed to fundamentally change our country? That’s the big question.”

This funding was actually first reported months ago for what it’s worth. In addition, the organization’s work goes well beyond immigration. But this expansion of funding from Soros – a prominent Jewish donor – has resurfaced in recent days, including on sites associated with white nationalism. In his defense, Carlson did not specifically say, “Jews will not replace us.”

Luckily for those evaluating the Fox News anchor’s claims, there’s a simpler explanation for the large-scale immigration to the United States. This country still offers its residents tremendous economic opportunity and personal security, which has long been considered a merit of this nation. There is also a legal process that allows asylum seekers to have a fair hearing and sometimes stay in the country while their applications are being decided.

Most Americans — not just Democrats — see immigrants as a strength, not a liability. But Carlson sticks to his argument that immigrants harm the United States, and so tries to defend it.

Even if he convinces himself that explicitly repeating an argument of white nationalists is no big deal.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/politics/2022/07/20/why-tucker-carlsons-recent-embrace-great-replacement-is-different/?utm_source=rss&utm_medium=referral&utm_campaign=wp_politics Why Tucker Carlson’s recent embrace of the ‘big substitute’ is different

James Brien

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