Editors’ Note: Reposted from The Washington Post, April 9, 2021. Tucker Carlson appears to have doubled down in recent weeks perhaps because he is attracting attention. Here, Philip Bump parses Carlson’s duplicity.
By Philip Bump
Soon, though, he was on his way to family in New Orleans, a week-long journey by train that he reports overlapped with the election of Abraham Lincoln in 1860. Upon his arrival, he was sent to a Catholic school to learn English where he reports that “some of the boys disliked me because I was so different, I suppose, and teased me about my pronunciation and made life miserable for a time.”
That occurred in New Orleans.
By then, Cesar Lombardi had already moved on to Texas. (He remained in Louisiana throughout the Civil War, where, he wrote, “[i]t was admitted, tacitly and otherwise, that the Slavery question was at the bottom of the difficulty, and the institution of Slavery was defended with vehemence, even in the pulpit” — though he “never became reconciled” to the owning of enslaved people.) He was also from a region near northern Italy, while much of the anti-Italian sentiment that emerged focused more heavily on those from the southern part of the country. It’s likely, then that he escaped much of the hostility. He thrived in his new country, as did his children and children’s children.
His great-great-granddaughter, born Lisa Lombardi, became an artist. She eventually married journalist Dick Carlson and had two sons. One of those sons is Fox News’s Tucker Carlson.
On Thursday evening, Carlson opined about modern immigration into the United States.
“I know that the left and all the little gatekeepers on Twitter become literally hysterical if you use the term ‘replacement,’ if you suggest for 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 said. “But they become hysterical because that’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it! That’s true.”
“If you change the population, you dilute the political power of the people who live there,” [said Carlson]…. “So every time they import a new voter, I’d become disenfranchised as a current voter…. 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?” . . . . It hopefully goes without saying that this rhetoric is dangerous and toxic. It should also be noted that it is also ahistoric and ignorant.
It hopefully goes without saying that this rhetoric is dangerous and toxic. It should also be noted that it is also ahistoric and ignorant.
The reason that people get agitated by claiming that “the people who live here” — mostly White people — are being “replaced” is that this is a central tenet of white nationalist rhetoric. Specifically, it’s a framing about immigration that’s specifically meant to agitate racial animus: “They” are taking over, as surely as dirty foreigners named “Lombardi” from uncivilized lands were mucking up the U.S. late in the 19th century.
Carlson is adept at presenting his rhetoric. It’s part of what makes him good on television; he’s sharp and brash and energetic. But that shouldn’t obscure that his rhetoric is wrong, shortsighted and potentially harmful.
As we said, immigrants’ political views change over the generations.