Thursday, July 02, 2020


It's easy to mock this...
“Dilbert” creator Scott Adams made a fearful prediction about the 2020 presidential election on Twitter on Wednesday, telling his Republican followers that if Joe Biden is elected to the White House, “there’s a good chance you will be dead within the year.”

“Republicans will be hunted,” he wrote in a follow-up tweet, later adding, “Police will stand down.”

But the most popular host in prime-time cable news, Tucker Carlson, essentially agrees with Adams. Here are excerpts from Carlson's opening monologue on last night's show. At first, it seems as if he's just talking about political vengeance. But then he darkly hints at a much worse fate for Republicans.

Republicans at all levels could lose this fall. If they do, there will be profound consequences for you.

People who supported Donald Trump will be punished. There's absolutely no question about that. There's never been an American political party as radical and as angry as the Democrats are now. Imagine them with unlimited power, and that's what they plan to get.

In their first year, Democrats will give voting rights to every illegal alien in this country, and then encourage many others to join them from abroad.

At a minimum, that means more than 20 million new Democratic voters overnight. No Republican will win nationally. Again, we will have one-party rule.

But Democrats don't plan to stop there. In Congress, they will abolish the filibuster. That means they'll be able to do whatever they want to do with just a simple majority, which they will have. They plan to pack the Senate by making the District of Columbia a state.

Giving statehood to D.C. is unconstitutional, clearly, but they're not worried about that. They plan to pack the Supreme Court, too. They have said so.

So what will Democrats do with all of this untrammeled power? It's pretty easy to imagine. We won't go into details right now. We don't want to wreck your night. But look around, you've got a pretty good idea of what's coming.
"Look around" has a very clear meaning in Fox Land, where the Seattle autonomous zone and monument-toppling have been the top stories for days. If you're a Fox fan, it's as if we're all Iranian hostages in 1979, even though Fox viewers are actually quite safe and comfortable in exurbia. (I should note that the passage quoted above followed criticism of Mike Braun, a Republican senator from Indiana, for his positive words about Black Lives Matter.)

The political vengeance Carlson imagines is a tad hyperbolic -- there are only 11 million undocumented immigrants in America, many are children, and no one's calling for instantaneous citizenship even for Dreamers, much less for every undocumented person.

Also, D.C. statehood wouldn't lead to a permanently Democratic Senate. The Senate right now is 53-47 Republican. If D.C. were a state, the Senate would be 53-49 Republican.

But Carlson has more scares for his audience -- and he might be hinting at the post-Trump future of the GOP (which will still be awful if he gets his way, though in different ways):
The point is, and it could not be clearer, non-Democrats in America are in peril.

... the Republican Party ... is our only shield. Yes, the Republican Party, flawed and infuriating, though it often is. The fact remains, the G.O.P. is the only institution still open to the rest of us, to Americans who want to live as they did just 15 years ago. Quietly, productively, without being harassed and harangued by self-righteous lunatics who mean them harm and they do.
There's a master class in how to say "Volk" without speaking German.
If you want to be left alone to do your job and raise your family in this country, you will need a protector. That protector must be the Republican Party. There are no other options, but it must be a very different kind of Republican Party.

Keep in mind, we're getting a new Republican Party no matter what happens. Even now, vultures wait just off stage to swoop in and claim the G.O.P. for themselves once Donald Trump is gone. Former Governor Nikki Haley tops that list, but there are many others on it.
I keep telling you that Haley is not the future of the GOP. If she wants to win the Republican presidential nomination in 2024, she'll have to get past the likes of Carlson. I doubt she can do it.

But here's where the monologue gets interesting:
Republicans are failing for a much more obvious reason, a more fundamental reason. They're failing because they haven't done much that is worth doing. They haven't tried very hard to improve your life. When the crisis came, they fled. They did nothing to defend you. They did nothing to defend the country.

They were paralyzed. Their so-called principles turned out to be bumper stickers they wrote 40 years ago. They had no clue what to do.
Carlson goes on to say:
Instead of improving the lives of their voters, the party feeds them a steady diet of mindless symbolic victories, partisan junk food designed to make them feel full even as they waste away.

Who cares how many Benghazi hearings we have? We're supposed to care. Why should we?
Wow. Really? Endless Benghazi hearings were bad, according to Carlson?

But this is Steve Bannon's old message: turn inward and focus on the people (or at least the heartland white people).
Because meanwhile, as we're talking about things that don't matter, life for the dwindling American middle class has become steadily worse. Suddenly, there are junkies living in your park. Your nephew just died of a fentanyl overdose. And saddest of all, and who hasn't thought this, you've realized that your children will never be as successful as you are. The American Dream died with your generation.

As all of this happened, Democrats laughed because it served their interests. Republicans basically ignored it and that cannot continue.
Democrats have many ideas to solve these problems, of course. Republicans didn't ignore the problems -- they actively prevented any effective response, and continue to do so.

But is this the future of the GOP -- Carlson's paleocon, Steve Bannon/Pat Buchanan populism, with a genuine attempt to improve the lives of at least some citizens?

Maybe, but maybe not. The right's Benghazi obsession seems crazy now, probably even to some Fox viewers, because the incident was nearly a decade ago. When there's a Republican president, it's hard to get traction for foreign policy criticism, even when the Republican is as outrageously treasonous as Trump, because the American people -- still -- believe that Republicans are patriotic defenders of American interests and Democrats are dangerous weaklings who either hate America or are America-hate-curious.

The media has tried to make Russian electoral interference, Ukrainegate, and now the Afghan bounties into big issues, yet they've never really caught on with the public.

But as soon as Joe Biden is president, it will be possible for the GOP (probably with the mainstream media's help) to turn any aspect of foreign policy that's even a minor mistake into a major scandal, because he's a Democrat.

That will give an opening to traditional ultra-hawks like Tom Cotton and Liz Cheney. Tucker Carlson will have to tack in a neocon direction or watch his ratings suffer.

But for now, his is the dominant message: Vote Republican or BLM will kill you in your beds.

That's probably the real future of the party: a synthesis of Cheney/Cotton neoconservatism and Tucker Carlson populism, but with no actual assistance for ordinary cirizens, even white Republicans. Oh, wait -- that sounds like the same Republican Party we've had since 1980, just with less Trump.

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