President Donald Trump has not even been in office for three full years, yet already historians are ranking him as one of the worst American leaders of all time.
But could America do even worse?
Farhad Manjoo, a columnist for The New York Times, conducted a “thought experiment” to imagine how voters could do even worse.
“What sort of character do we have to imagine occupying the White House in 2029 to make lefties like myself feel even a slight pang of nostalgia for the good old days of Donald J. Trump?” he wondered.
He concluded that Fox News personality Tucker Carlson could be even worse than Trump.
“Come, take a stroll with me through my recurrent nightmare: It’s the sweltering summer of 2029, and the man in charge is Tucker Carlson — that is, President Tucker Carlson, the one-time Fox News talker turned righteous, white nationalist economic populist, now in his triumphant second term, after having defeated the incumbent Joseph ‘Recession Joe’ Biden back in 2024,” he imagined.
“Like Trump, President Carlson spends his first term refashioning America along racial lines. But unlike Trump, whose one term is now regarded by much of the right as a best-forgotten political disaster, Carlson advances an ethnonationalist populism that succeeds in a wild, frightening fashion,” he continued. “His secret: competence, a commitment to true political realignment, and a brutal online political machine that represents the full flowering of the tactics and ideology first displayed during 2014’s Gamergate movement.”
“Where Trump was a chaotic, undisciplined narcissist, the Carlson who wins in 2024 is a canny political strategist who makes good on Trump’s forgotten promise to embrace anti-corporate economic policies,” Manjoo imagined. “It’s a winning electoral formula: A large minority of Americans are willing to forgive Carlson’s authoritarian, nativist impulses if they see it as part of a war against the out-of-touch, culture-destroying corporations that are automating our jobs; killing every other industry; and exercising complete control over what we watch, read, listen to, buy and believe.”
He explained the two things that “terrify and fascinate” him about Carlson running for elective office.
“First, unlike most Republican lawmakers today, Carlson is sketching an economic vision of a post-Trump America that departs in key ways from Trumpism, especially in its muscular anti-corporate, populist zeal,” he argued. “The second thing that scares me about Carlson is his racism, which is both more extreme and more cannily packaged for a digital audience than is Trump’s.”
Read the full column.