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Fox News host Tucker Carlson is really determined to sell his audience on what is — and this cannot be stressed enough — a literal neo-Nazi conspiracy theory. Neo-Nazis and other white nationalist groups have long pushed the idea that a shadowy cabal of Jews is secretly conspiring to "remake" America and "steal" it from its rightful owners, white Christians. They are supposedly doing this by "importing" non-white people — who neo-Nazis believe to be mentally inferior and therefore easily controlled by the shadowy Jewish conspiracy — into the U.S.
Carlson's only spin is replacing the word "Jews" with "Democrats," but other than that, he's lifting "replacement theory" wholesale from the neo-Nazi dregs of the internet and now is repackaging this ridiculous conspiracy theory as if it were an inarguable fact, much to the delight of white nationalists. And because Carlson's main modus operandi is trolling, he's relishing the negative attention he gets by hyping a racist conspiracy theory and he's using his audience's love of liberal-triggering to encourage them to mindlessly burrow deeper into the worldview of unapologetic fascists.
Carlson is a moral monster. It's likely he has been this way since his high school "Dan White Society" days. Sadly, he is a monster that must be dealt with, despite the unfortunate risk of troll-feeding. It's not just because Carlson has an audience that regularly tops 3 million viewers, though that alone is terrifying. It's that he is a smart man whose strategy for selling this conspiracy theory is sinister and clever. To fight back, it's crucial that progressives don't fall into the trap he is setting.
Basically, Carlson is pulling off two bait-and-switch routines. First, he falsely conflates any cultural change with his ridiculous "replacement" conspiracy theory. Second, he tries to paint the debate one over whether change is real — something that literally no one contests — so as to avoid talking about the real issue, which is how it's nuclear-level racist to react to cultural change like it's some kind of existential threat. In reality, it's just what happens if you're lucky to live long enough to experience it.
Both tactics were on full display on Wednesday night, when Carlson took a break from trying to martyrize Derek Chauvin to once again promote "replacement theory" by bashing Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., who was born in Taiwan but grew up in Ohio. Lieu was angry at Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., for parroting the "replacement theory," and retorted on Twitter. "And with every passing year, there will be more people who look like me in the US. You can't stop it. So take your racist replacement theory and shove it."
Carlson treated this tweet like it was some inadvertent confession that "replacement" conspiracy theory is real.
"In other words, you're being replaced, and there's nothing you can do about it, so shut up," he shouted with what can only be described as a maniacal laugh.
Tucker Carlson seems to be losing his marbles https://t.co/k8b5Tm3yTn— Aaron Rupar (@Aaron Rupar)1619052839.0
Here's the thing, though: Lieu didn't give any game away. Liberals have never denied that immigration changes society. Of course it does, along with generational shifts, changing fashions, and evolving social norms. When I was young, people wore low-rise jeans and MTV still played music videos. Now it's skinny jeans (though apparently not for long) and TikTok. Change is inevitable, and generally good, as anyone who has a memory of hair-destroying styling products in the bad old days can attest.
What makes "replacement" a conspiracy theory, however, is that it invents this elaborate fantasy ascribing change not to the normal churn of human society, but to a sinister and hidden conspiracy of Jews and Democrats who are secretly inflicting change to pull off some grand scheme.
That is, of course dumb. It's like "neo-Nazi message board" levels of dumb. Carlson deflects attention from that by pretending that we're debating the factual assertion "change is real," and lashing out at straw-liberals who, though only in his imagination, are pretending it's not.
More importantly, Carlson is propping up this fake debate so that he can smuggle in his real argument, which is that change is bad.
Carlson's whole gambit depends on the presumption that change is a terrible thing. But that belief is both delusional and, on the subject of immigration, racist. As Adam Serwer of The Atlantic recently wrote, the same kinds of arguments were made "at the turn of the 20th century" to argue that "Polish, Russian, Greek, Italian, and Jewish" immigrants "posed a danger." Carlson's hysterics make about as much sense as some man in the 1920s arguing that the bagel is the downfall of American civilization.
Lieu's point actual point was, of course, that people like him are a valuable addition to the American community, and we should welcome the changes immigration brings. Carlson knows that he can't win that argument, especially when reminded of how idiotic such arguments from the past look to modern eyes. As Sewer notes, the Tucker Carlsons of the 1930s were so racist and paranoid that even Nazis rejected some of their ideas as "a bit too strict." So instead, Carlson raves about secret conspiracies and pretends that liberals are hiding something. It's pure projection, of course. The only people hiding anything are Carlson and his allies, who are hiding their true motivation: naked racism.
The "replacement" and "change" language feeds on the very human fear of mortality that is especially powerful with the largely elderly Fox News audience. As Heather "Digby" Parton wrote last week for Salon, "The fact is that we are all going to be 'replaced' by the generations that come up behind us." Change is often terrifying because it's a reminder that time is passing by and that the grave awaits us all. For many people, it's easier to let this sour-faced, middle-aged prep school brat lash out at immigrants than grapple with their fears of change and death. Carlson is a cynical demagogue, no doubt, and that's why he's a dangerous one.
'Existential moment for our country': Cori Bush leads 90+ Dems in calling for abolition of Senate filibuster
Congresswoman Cori Bush and nearly 100 other House Democrats on Thursday urged their Senate counterparts to immediately eliminate the legislative filibuster, an archaic rule standing in the way of D.C. statehood, a major expansion of voting rights, labor law reforms, and other key priorities.
"There is this old, outdated, racist rule called the filibuster that has been used to deny our basic human rights, especially to people who look like me," Bush (D-Mo.), a Black woman, said during a press conference outside the U.S. Capitol Building. "When it comes to eliminating the filibuster, everything we love is at stake."
"It's D.C. statehood, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal legal and immigration reform, gun violence prevention, workers' rights—or it's the filibuster."
—Rep. Cori Bush
In a letter (pdf) to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) Thursday morning, 98 House Democrats argue that "there is simply no avenue for bold legislation that meets the needs of everyday Americans without ending the filibuster," which the lawmakers describe as a "relic of Jim Crow-era policies."
"This is an existential moment for our country," the lawmakers write. "For too many people in our communities, their very survival is at stake. Republicans are well aware of this reality. It is why they are passing legislation at the state level across the country in an attempt to suppress the votes of Black, brown, and Indigenous people. It is also why they are preventing the Senate from advancing critical legislation that can meet the needs of the people we represent."
"We urge Senate Democrats to do what it takes to pass an agenda that meets the needs of everyday people, including eliminating the filibuster," the letter continues. "What has become patently clear is that we cannot let a procedural tool that can be abolished stand in the way of justice, prosperity, and equity. We simply cannot afford such a catastrophic compromise."
The letter was sent hours before the House—without the support of a single Republican—passed legislation that would make Washington, D.C. the 51st U.S. state and grant full congressional representation to the district's roughly 700,000 residents.
But as Bush noted on Twitter, the statehood bill is destined for the Senate's crowded legislative graveyard if Democrats allow the filibuster to remain intact.
"It's D.C. statehood, voting rights, LGBTQ+ rights, criminal legal and immigration reform, gun violence prevention, workers' rights—or it's the filibuster," Bush wrote.
Senate Democrats can abolish or weaken the filibuster with a simple majority vote, meaning they would need the support of every member of the caucus and a tie-breaking vote from Vice President Kamala Harris.
"Democratic senators who defend the filibuster are protecting a legacy of racism, and are choosing to let an outdated rule block progress that would begin to address the challenges facing Black communities across the country."
—Scott Roberts, Color of Change
But at least two conservative caucus members—Sens. Joe Manchin (D-W.Va.) and Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.)—have been outspoken in their defense of the filibuster even as the rule hobbles their party's ability to pass its agenda and potentially puts Democrats at greater risk of losing control of Congress in the 2022 midterms.
Scott Roberts, senior director of democracy and criminal justice for Color of Change, said in a statement Thursday that "Democratic senators who defend the filibuster are protecting a legacy of racism, and are choosing to let an outdated rule block progress that would begin to address the challenges facing Black communities across the country."
"Filibuster reform is critical for advancing racial justice," Roberts added.
In a report released earlier this week, advocacy group Fix Our Senate detailed how the legislative filibuster—which dates back to the early 19th century—became "the primary weapon used by racist, segregationist politicians to delay and restrict progress—primarily in the form of civil rights."
"The historical record is clear: there is a long and shameful history of segregationists and racists using the filibuster to block overdue progress on civil rights, voting rights, and other efforts to build a more inclusive democracy," said Fix Our Senate spokesperson Eli Zupnick. "Senators can protect the filibuster... or they can protect our democracy and the right to vote. They cannot do both."
How the GOP’s election conspiracy theories could end up hurting them in the 2022 midterms: columnist
There's an impending problem facing the Republican Party as the 2022 midterm election approach, their own voters don't believe that their votes matter. Global opinions contributor Brian Klass wrote in the Washington Post that this is setting the GOP up for disaster.
The conspiracy theories that the GOP manufactured resulted in 60 percent of Republican voters who still believe the 2020 election was "stolen" from former President Donald Trump. The polls also say that 55 percent of Republicans think that the 2020 election was full of voter fraud.
Republican states have ushered in a series of voter suppression bills that are the most likely to dampen votes of people of color. "Republicans don't care about the violent consequences of spreading lies about election fraud or torching faith in democratic institutions," said Klass. "But they might care once they understand that spreading baseless Trumpian conspiracy theories about voter fraud isn't just immoral and authoritarian. It's also politically idiotic."
He explained that he's seen what happens in other countries when one party attempts to suppress another. In the eventual "showdown" in Sri Lanka he said that some began to believe that voting was pointless. "Tamil leaders called for an election boycott," he recalled. "The hard-liner narrowly won — a victory that wouldn't have happened without the Tamils staying home. Over the next 3½ years, the hard-liner led military operations against militant Tamils, decimating them. The boycott had backfired."
That's what could happen in the case of the GOP. If their voters believe that there's no point in voting because the election will be fraudulent anyway.
"Because of the staying power of Trump's lies about election fraud within the Republican base, a split is likely to emerge in the GOP," explained Klass. "Next year, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (KY) will surely do everything he can to reassure his voter base that their votes will fully count in the midterms. He will (correctly) insist that the system is legitimate and encourage Republicans to get out and vote."
But already the Trump followers are being pitted against McConnell. Even the anti-Trump group The Lincoln Project is playing this up with its own mockery of the ongoing feud.
Klass also noted that a form of it was already at play in Georgia by the time the special election rolled around. Trump supporters and sometimes legal advisers Sidney Powell and Lin Wood called for a boycott. McConnell was furious. Democrats won both races, changing the makeup of the U.S. Senate.
"We need to stop Republican lies about America's elections," he closed. "Republicans themselves seem unmoved by concerns that they're destroying faith in our democratic institutions. Perhaps they'll be more swayed once they understand they're also working against their own political self-interest."
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