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Tucker Carlson’s revealing, ignorant disparagement of the vice president

There’s admittedly not much reason to pay attention to Tucker Carlson these days. You remember Tucker, the guy who used to wear bow ties and then became a prime-time host on Fox News (to Russia’s delight) before losing his job for unclear reasons and being relegated to the social media network for people too right-wing for Truth Social? He is still saying things.

And those things are still as close to explicitly racist as you can get without the ghost of Bull Connor appearing while you sleep to applaud you. His response to the results of the Iowa caucuses were no different.

In a video posted to X, formerly Twitter, on Tuesday, Carlson spent more than 17 minutes rejecting the idea that the results of Iowa’s caucuses were a function of White Christians on the right. That despite the obvious reality that, by definition, a Republican nominating contest in Iowa would be exactly that.

Carlson showed a snippet of MSNBC’s post-caucuses coverage, featuring one of the right’s most frequent targets, host Joy Reid.

Now we can know who “NBC News believes is at fault for yesterday’s history-altering calamity,” he said. “In Iowa, it was the Whites, the Christian Whites!”

The “history-altering calamity” was Carlson’s phrasing to describe how he perceived the left to be reacting to former president Donald Trump’s predicted and predictable win. The latter bit is an accurate assessment of the results, presented as though it was risible.

Numerous other elements of Carlson’s spiel covered similarly fraught terrain. There was his description of George Floyd, the Black man killed by police in Minnesota in 2020, as “an armed robber [who died] of a drug O.D.” Or his assessment that President Biden wanted White American life expectancy to drop more quickly.

“There are too many White people!” Carlson said, pretending to be Biden. “It’s their fault!”

Most cringe-inducing, though, was his assessment of Vice President Harris. The theme of the video was that the elites or whoever wanted former U.N. ambassador Nikki Haley to be the GOP nominee instead of Trump so that they didn’t have to rely on Biden or something. And they couldn’t replace Biden because that would leave Harris (somehow), and people don’t like her.

Then he got to the assertion that he had probably constructed this whole mythology around in the first place.

“Harris is a member of the new master race,” he said. “[So] she cannot be booted off a presidential ticket. She must be shown maximum respect at all times, no matter what she says or does.”

I mean, that’s it, isn’t it? That’s the thesis that undergirds so much of Trump’s support and right-wing politics in general: that non-White people are protected by wokeism and boosted by White guilt. Polls that show Republicans as more likely to say that Whites and men are targets of discrimination than Black Americans are simply another manifestation of the same thing.

But take a step back and consider what Carlson is saying: that Harris, who identifies as both Black and Indian, is nonetheless part of “a master race.” What is that race? Being non-White, apparently.

At another point, Carlson suggested that Whites didn’t deserve to be targeted by Biden (which they aren’t) because, among other things, they are suffering from the fact that “they will soon be a minority in the country their ancestors founded.” (Itself an arguable assertion.)

He’s referring to data like this, from the Census Bureau, suggesting that White Americans will no longer be a majority of the population by the mid-2040s.

But that graph is misleading. While White Americans will not constitute half the population (assuming the Census Bureau’s estimates are on the mark), Whites will still be a plurality of the population. They’ll still be the most dominant racial group.

But Carlson already tipped his hand on this. Harris is “the master race” because she’s non-White and, according to Carlson and Co., all non-Whites act in concert to undermine the White majority.

This is a common worldview that New York University researcher Eric Knowles calls the “minority collusion” belief. He and his colleagues conducted research in the period when Trump was emerging as the leader of the Republican Party and found an increase among White Americans in sentiments that presented Black, Hispanic, Asian and other non-White groups as somehow aligned in challenging the power of Whites. That overall increase in belief in “minority collusion,” though, was solely a function of the rise among White Republicans.

In reality, different racial groups are constantly jockeying for power and influence. America’s increased diversity means that White-centric power diverges increasingly from the population — and that efforts to ensure the preservation of White dominance are increasingly obvious.

It’s also useful to remember that, even in 2050, higher percentages of Hispanic and Asian U.S. residents will be immigrants, many of whom will be unable to vote. That challenge to White political power, then, will still be a few years off.

Those immigrants, meanwhile, have been the key to America’s continued population — and therefore economic — growth. Compare the United States with China, for example.

So much of Republican politics is rooted in this idea that Whites are unfairly losing influence or that their opponents are granting unfair benefits to this aggregated non-White population (rather than working to ameliorate Whites’ systemic advantages).

Somehow, the heir of a frozen-food fortune who attended elite schools before being fired from all three major cable news networks and being begged by the world’s richest man to provide content for his social media platform fails to see how U.S. society distributes power.

This post appeared first on The Washington Post

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