- Fox News host Tucker Carlson endorsed the white supremacist “Great Replacement” theory during his Thursday night program.
- He claimed Democrats are “importing a brand new electorate” of “Third World” immigrants to “dilute” Americans’ political power.
- Human rights advocates and other critics denounced Carlson’s comments as an explicit embrace of white nationalism.
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Fox News host Tucker Carlson, one of the most influential voices on the political right, explicitly endorsed the white supremacist “Great Replacement” theory during his Thursday night program.
Carlson argued that Democratic lawmakers are “importing a brand new electorate” of “Third World” immigrants to “dilute” Americans’ political power by adding more voters to the rolls. He described his argument as the so-called replacement theory, which is a core belief of white supremacists that has motivated racist violence and mass murder in the US and around the world.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest that the Democratic Party is trying to replace the current electorate — the voters now casting ballots — with new people, more obedient voters from the Third World,” Carlson told his audience, which is among the largest in cable news. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.”
Carlson argued that his comments aren’t racialized, despite the fact that the vast majority of the conservative voters he’s defending are white and the immigrants he’s demonizing are largely people of color. The Fox host is making his argument in the context of Democratic efforts to create pathways to citizenship for millions of undocumented immigrants, the majority of whom are from Mexico and Central and South America.
White nationalists and others on the far-right have long espoused the “Great Replacement” and “white genocide” conspiracy theories to whip up racial resentment. In 2017, neo-Nazis marched in Charlottesville, Virginia, chanting, “Jews will not replace us.”
“If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there,” Carlson said on Thursday. “So every time they import a new voter, I’d become disenfranchised as a current voter … Everyone wants to make a racial issue out of it. Oh, white replacement. No. This is a voting rights question. I have less political power because they’re importing a brand new electorate. Why should I sit back and take that?”
A Fox News spokesperson told Insider that Carlson wasn’t endorsing the “white replacement” theory, but instead making an argument about voting rights.
Carlson’s comments build on similar anti-immigrant arguments he’s made in the past. He regularly bemoans the country’s changing racial demographics and demonizes immigrants, who he says make the US “poor and dirtier and more divided.”
—nikki mccann ramírez (@NikkiMcR) April 9, 2021
Carlson’s “replacement” comments were quickly denounced by human rights advocates and critics.
The Anti-Defamation League called for Carlson’s resignation or firing. The head of the Jewish rights group, Jonathan Greenblatt, called the theory “a white supremacist tenet that the white race is in danger by a rising tide of non-whites.”
“It is antisemitic, racist and toxic. It has informed the ideology of mass shooters in El Paso, Christchurch and Pittsburgh,” he said. “Tucker must go.”
New York Magazine columnist Jonathan Chait wrote that Carlson escalated his anti-immigrant argument in a way that purposely appeals to white supremacists.
“He could simply make standard issue, non-racist arguments for lower levels of legal immigration or perhaps more stringent border security. Instead he actively wants to frame his ideas in terms that appeal to white supremacists,” Chait wrote on Friday. “Carlson has been appealing to them for years with wink-and-nod messages that dovetail with their paranoid themes. Last night his embrace of white supremacy crossed an important and dangerous new threshold.”
Ben Rhodes, a top adviser to former President Barack Obama, tweeted, “Throughout American history there has been a ceaseless cast of self-involved bigots peddling hate forgotten by time.”
—Tommy Vietor (@TVietor08) April 9, 2021
And Philip Bump, a columnist for The Washington Post, argued that Carlson’s comments are not only dangerous, but “ahistoric.” Carlson, himself the descendent of a Swiss-Italian immigrant who wrote about the pain of anti-immigrant sentiment, falsely assumed that immigrants and their descendants are Democratic voters. The US has a long history of hostility towards non-white immigrants, many of whom, including those of Italian descent, assimilated to American culture as conservative white people.
—Juliette Kayyem (@juliettekayyem) April 9, 2021