Tucker Carlson misreads Trump’s pre-election strategy
Since 2020’s craziness began, Tucker Carlson has been brilliant. He’s talked us through speech-killing political correctness and “cancel culture,” a health panic that leftist politicians have used to break Trump supporters, and racism as bad as that during the Jim Crow era only with the races reversed. Carlson is always unafraid to tell the truth.
When the riots started, between his job at Fox News and his home base in Washington, D.C., Carlson has had a front-row seat for the spectacle of leftist protesters systematically destroying property and America’s heritage. It is a demoralizing show.
This demoralization was front and center in Carlson’s monologue on Thursday night. He opened by saying there’s a good chance that Trump can lose the election, making Biden president. (Were that to happen, I believe America would become the first country ever knowingly to elect to its highest office a man with dementia.)
Carlson’s conclusion didn’t arise because the polls show that the basement-dwelling Biden, who’s trotted out every few days to prove he’s still alive, is soaring in the polls. After all, voters remember 2016 and Hillary’s lead. Carlson did observe that the Trump team is worried, but that wasn’t driving Carlson’s pessimism.
Instead, what concerned Carlson is that the Republicans have been supine in their response, first, to the lockdowns and, second, to the violent protests leftists have brought to America’s streets. He noted that Republican politicians were caught flatfooted because they are so naïve they can’t believe that the lockdowns and the riots are a planned and systemic attack on America’s conservative voters. They have therefore stood on the sidelines, he said, abandoning Americans to the mob.
To illustrate, Carlson played a disturbing call a panicked mother in Fredericksburg, Virginia, made to 911 when the mob trapped her in her car, only to have the 911 operator say no help was available, after which the mayor apologized to the rioters. What Carlson didn’t mention is that 60% of Fredericksburg’s citizens voted for Hillary. It is a leftist town.
While Carlson doesn’t expect much from run-of-the-mill Republican politicos, he argued that Trump’s apparent passivity means he’s failing to do what voters in 2016 elected him to do: Stem the tide of leftism.
Voters saw which way the wind was blowing in 2016. They saw that Trump had for decades been prescient about China’s rise and America’s simultaneous slide; they appreciated that he valued sovereignty, including secure borders; and they believed that he would take a stand against the breakdown of order in the streets and the government’s expanded interference in and control over American lives.
But in 2020, once the fecal matter hit the fan and leftists revealed themselves in the statehouses and on the streets, Trump’s reaction has been muted. Carlson acknowledged that Trump is exhausted from the Russia hoax, that his advisors are confused or disloyal, and that lawyers give stupid advice. More than that, though, Carlson contended that Trump is too passive. He’s failing, said Carlson:
I think Tucker’s wrong. Trump is not silent because of fear or exhaustion. Instead, he’s pursuing a deliberate strategy. Whether it works is another thing, but there’s a strong rationale and intelligence behind Trump’s response to both the virus and the riots.
First, Trump is living up to his principles: He is a true believer in the Founders’ view of federalism, which calls for a small federal government and greater states’ rights. During the Wuhan Virus, Trump slashed regulations (shrinking the government) to speed the manufacture of healthcare products, created a government-business partnership the likes of which hasn’t been seen since WWII to meet the (probably erroneous) demand for ventilators, as well as other supplies, and signed off on legislative stimulus bills.
For the rest, he left it to America’s governors to determine their states’ policies. It is difficult to imagine any president other than Washington or Coolidge shrinking, rather than expanding, executive power during a crisis.
Second, Trump is allowing Americans to experience first-hand the immediate consequences of their political choices in America’s fifty “laboratories of democracy.” The dichotomy began with the Wuhan Virus. In Democrat-run states, Americans got total lockdowns, nursing homes turned into slaughterhouses, and economic destruction. In Republican-run states, Americans got some semblance of normal life, fewer deaths (in part because nursing homes weren’t petri dishes), and greater economic stability.
The dichotomy continued with the riots. In conservatively run states or cities, people were freely granted their First Amendment right to assemble peaceably but were immediately shut down when they turned to property destruction and violence. In Democrat-run cities or states, the politicos told the police to stand down (or hung them out to dry). The cities quickly turned into war zones, with looting, burning, racial violence, and systematic attacks on America’s cultural and religious institutions.
Sen. Tom Cotton (R, Ark.) understands that Trump, by sticking to his federalist principles, is making a point. As Cotton’s new video states, “Elect Joe Biden and the anarchy will be coming to a town near you.”
I understand Carlson’s despair, for I sometimes feel it myself. But I also believe that Trump is forcing a real choice on Americans: They can vote for Biden and turn America into CHAZ or they can reelect Trump and, by making that statement, give him the power finally to shut down the left and its Deep State resistance.