Tucker Carlson 2024? The GOP is buzzing

Tucker Carlson 2024? The GOP is buzzing. By Alex Thompson.

Tucker Carlson’s audience is booming — and so is chatter that the popular Fox News host will parlay his TV perch into a run for president in 2024. …

“He’s a talented communicator with a massive platform. I think if he runs he’d be formidable,” said Luke Thompson, a Republican strategist who worked for Jeb Bush’s super PAC in 2016.

While practically every Republican eyeing a 2024 presidential run is professing loyalty to Trump the person, Carlson has become perhaps the highest-profile proponent of “Trumpism” — a blend of anti-immigrant nationalism, economic populism and America First isolationism that he articulates unapologetically and with some snark. At the same time, he’s shown a rare willingness among Republicans to bluntly criticize Trump when he believes the president is straying from that ideology. …

“Let me put it this way: If Biden wins and Tucker decided to run, he’d be the nominee,” said Sam Nunberg, a former top political aide to Trump who knows Carlson. But Nunberg said he doesn’t believe Carlson will run because “he’s so disgusted with politicians.”

Sixteen prominent Republicans interviewed by POLITICO said there’s an emerging consensus in the GOP that the 51-year-old Carlson would be formidable if he were to run. Some strategists aligned with other potential candidates are convinced he will enter the race and detect the outlines of a stump speech in Carlson’s recent Fox monologues. Others, particularly those who know him well, are skeptical that he would leave his prime-time TV gig. …

Carlson has never run for office and has been dismissive of doing so in the past. In 2012, Nunberg said Republican operative Roger Stone unsuccessfully pushed Carlson to run on the Libertarian ticket. …

On his show, Carlson has made it abundantly clear that he thinks Trump’s election in 2016 was not a freak accident. Instead, he views it as a righteous repudiation of a morally bankrupt Republican Party that had become obsessed with capital gains tax cuts and foreign wars. This week, he warned his viewers to watch out for “vultures [who] wait just off stage to swoop in and claim the GOP for themselves once Donald Trump is gone,” name-checking likely 2024 candidate Nikki Haley.

“The moment Trump leaves, they will attack him,” he said. “They’ll tell you that ‘Republicans lost power because they were mean and intolerant just like Donald Trump.’ … It’s a lie.”

It is just one of many exhortations from the past month that have propelled Carlson to new popularity among the GOP base. As Republicans across the country and in Congress have expressed newfound openness to reforming the police and taking down Confederate monuments in the wake of protests, Carlson has denounced the Black Lives Matter movement and derided Republicans who have gone along with it. …

“The angry children you watched set fire to Wendy’s and topple statues and scream at you on television day after day are truly and utterly stupid,” he said on his show last week. And he has repeatedly pushed back on the idea that racism is systemic in the country. “Overall, this is the least racist country in the history of the world,” he said a few days earlier. “Millions of Africans want to move here. Many already have. Our last president was black. What are you talking about?”

His audience has rewarded him with blockbuster ratings.

Making enemies in the Republican establishment:

Carlson has also earned powerful enemies in the party for his regular missives aimed at lawmakers and power brokers — attacks that he has kept up for the past month.

After Haley said the killing of George Floyd “needs to be personal and painful for everyone” in order for the country to heal, Carlson said, “What Nikki Haley does best is moral blackmail.” A Haley spokesperson declined to respond.

When Republican Sens. Ron Johnson and James Lankford this week proposed making Juneteenth a national holiday and doing away with Columbus Day in order to keep the number of national holidays the same, Tucker mocked the effort. “They describe themselves as conservatives, as improbable as that may seem,” he said.

Carlson painted with a wider brush this week, saying Republican Party leaders’ “so-called principles turned out to be bumper stickers they wrote 40 years ago.” In a sentiment that drew praise from some conservatives and liberals alike, he added that, “Instead of improving the lives of their voters, the party feeds them a steady diet of mindless, symbolic victories — partisan junk food designed to make them feel full even as they waste away.” Carlson apologized, to “the extent this show has participated in it.” …

Force of nature:

“I think everybody views Pence the same: What a great guy. But I don’t think anybody thinks he’s the force of nature that it takes to win the presidency,” said one former White House official. “I think Day One, Tucker probably starts ahead of those people if he does run.”

A Republican strategist close to the White House added: “If you are a Republican politician and you want to know where Republican voters are, all you have to do is watch Tucker Carlson every night.”

Steve Sailer:

Obviously, Tucker being President would be better for the USA than just about anybody else you can think of in that job …

But becoming President would probably be a demotion for Tucker. Right now, he has his Dream Job where he gets paid handsomely to go on TV nightly and tell the truth. Who else has a job like that?