Thursday on Fox News Channel’s “Tucker Carlson Tonight,” host Tucker Carlson closed his show with a monologue calling on President Donald Trump to use fear as a tactic against Republican lawmakers that won’t get on board with his agenda, particular on immigration.
Carlson argued there was little to motivate Republicans to introduce immigration legislation, which was a key policy item in Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign. Therefore, Carlson suggested Trump use fear through supporting primary challenges to those lawmakers as motivation.
Transcript as follows:
All eyes are on the House’s Obamacare replacement bill tonight. Members were supposed to vote on it earlier, that was the plan, but then it got delayed presumably because there aren’t enough votes for it. Every news outlet in America is covering this of course – the drama of it.
But that coverage is obscuring a deeper truth about what’s going on Capitol Hill, and more precisely about what is not going on on Capitol Hill. Not much is happening there. Most significantly, the GOP majority might not even bother to introduce a serious immigration bill this year.
Think about that for a minute.
President Trump ran on a promise to control the border and reform the immigration system so it reflects the interest of middle-class Americans, not just the big employers and the donor class. It was his most prominent position. He won the November election because of that position.
But, to fulfill that promise, the president needs the help of Congress, and they will have to move fast. Republicans control both chambers as of today. There’s no guarantee two years from now.
If you look around, there is no urgency at all. Pick three Senate staffers at random and ask them if an immigration bill is coming anytime soon. They may look at the floor, shift their feet, mumble. What they won’t say is yes because they know a meaningful immigration bill may not be coming and why would it?
Many Republican senators prefer mass immigration. The people who fund their campaigns profit from it. Their family and friends don’t see a downside to it. They are not affected by a chaotic public schools or filthy emergency rooms or falling wages at all.
So, there is not a lot of incentive to change the status quo. But there are definitely risks – social ones, anyway. Vote for real borders? You might have to endure being called a racist by some 27-year-old blogger at BuzzFeed. That’s terrifying to members of the Senate.
So, if he wants to make good on his most basic promise to the country, the president will have to make Congress fall in line, and there’s only one way to do that, fear.
It’s the most primal of all emotions, and it’s the most effective motivator known to politics. If the president wants an immigration bill, the White House ought to present its plan – not talking points, but a real plan with details. Explain what it is, why it works, how it will make the American middle class stronger than it already is and wield the stick.
Make it plain that if Republican members of Congress won’t back that bill, the White House will support primary efforts by those who will back the bill and that will work. Nothing else will.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor