Tucker Carlson is the privileged child of the 1950s WASP establishment, the top editor at The Daily Caller, a talk-show host, and an excellent boss, writer, and father. Yet he placed a metaphorical turd in Washington’s silver punch-bowl on Thursday by writing an op-ed titled “Donald Trump Is Shocking, Vulgar and Right.”
Trump’s amazing progress at the polls, Carlson says in an opinion piece for Politico, shows that:
It turns out the GOP wasn’t simply out of touch with its voters; the party had no idea who its voters were or what they believed. For decades, party leaders and intellectuals imagined that most Republicans were broadly libertarian on economics and basically neoconservative on foreign policy. That may sound absurd now, after Trump has attacked nearly the entire Republican catechism (he savaged the Iraq War and hedge fund managers in the same debate) and been greatly rewarded for it, but that was the assumption the GOP brain trust operated under. They had no way of knowing otherwise. The only Republicans they talked to read the Wall Street Journal too.
On immigration policy, party elders were caught completely by surprise. Even canny operators like Ted Cruz didn’t appreciate the depth of voter anger on the subject. And why would they? If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good.
Apart from his line about Mexican rapists early in the campaign, Trump hasn’t said anything especially shocking about immigration. Control the border, deport lawbreakers, try not to admit violent criminals — these are the ravings of a Nazi? This is the “ghost of George Wallace” that a Politico piece described last August? A lot of Republican leaders think so. No wonder their voters are rebelling…
Of the Republicans now running, Trump likely has the best chance to beat Hillary Clinton, for two reasons:
First, he’s the only Republican who can meaningfully expand the pie. Polls show a surprisingly large number of Democrats open to Trump. In one January survey by the polling form Mercury Analytics , almost 20 percent said they’d consider crossing over to him from Hillary. Even if that’s double the actual number, it’s still stunning. Could Ted Cruz expect to draw that many Democrats? Could Jeb?
It’s an article of faith in Washington that Trump would tank the party’s prospects with minority voters. Sounds logical, especially if you’re a sensitive white liberal who considers the suggestion of a border wall a form of hate speech, but consider the baseline. In the last election, Romney got 6 percent of the black vote, and 27 percent of Hispanics. Trump, who’s energetic, witty and successful, will do worse? I wouldn’t bet on it.
But the main reason Trump could win is because he’s the only candidate hard enough to call Hillary’s bluff.
By the way, Carlson hasn’t worn a bow-tie for many years. But he may send you one of his unused bow-ties to auction at a charity event. Read his article here.