Strangely, Fox News talker Tucker Carlson could blow American conservatism and the Republican Party apart by telling the truth.
The truth Carlson tells is that capitalism is destroying American families and communities. Astoundingly Carlson admits that many Republicans and conservative leaders see nothing wrong with a capitalism that destroys ordinary people.
Surprisingly, Carlson tells those truths on his popular Fox News talk show; Tucker Carlson Tonight. Carlson even accused a major Republican donor; hedge fund billionaire Paul Singer, of practicing “vulture capitalism,” on air, The American Conservative notes.
Did Paul Singer really Destroy Sidney Nebraska?
In a 3 December 2019 segment Carlson describes how Singer’s hedge fund Elliott Management devastated the small town of Sidney, Nebraska.
To explain, Elliott Management forced Sidney’s major employer; the Cablea’s sporting goods stores, to merge with its rival Bass Pro Shops. The merged company eliminated hundreds of jobs in Sidney, where they headquartered Cabela’s.
Meanwhile, Elliott Management made $90 million by selling Cabela’s stock. Carlson claims Cabela’s demise Sidney’s economy, but the data tells a different story.
Cabela’s terminated; and bought out, around 690 employees in Sidney in 2018, NTV reports. In addition, over 100 homes were in foreclosure in Sidney; a town of 6,620 people, in 2018.
For instance, Sidney’s unemployment rate of 4% is higher than the U.S. average of 3.6%, BestPlaces estimates. Significantly, BestPlaces projects Sidney’s future growth rate for the next decade at 2.3%. Meanwhile BestPlaces predicts the US job growth rate at 33.5% for the next decade.
In addition, the rate of recent job growth shrank by -2.9% in Sidney. Conversely, U.S. job growth rose by 1.6%, Best Places claims. Thus, Carlson is partially right, Cabela’s closure devastated Sidney, but its people are surviving.
How Carlson Could Tear Conservatism Apart
Carlson’s monologue exposes American conservatism’s greatest dilemma. The irony is those who destroy the things conservatives claim to value finance conservatism.
Capitalists and technologists are systematically demolishing the Main Street culture American conservatives claim to venerate. Yet, those capitalists and technologists finance the Republican Party and movement conservationism.
“People like Paul Singer have tremendous influence over our political process,” Carlson says. “Singer himself was the second largest donor to the Republican Party in 2016. He’s given millions to a super-PAC that supports Republican senators.”
For instance, Singer gave former New York Mayor; turned Trump hatchetman, Rudy Giuliani free use of his private jet during an unsuccessful 2008 presidential campaign, Heavy.com alleges. Heavy.com claims Singer donated $24 million to Republican candidates in 2016 and $1 million to President Donald J. Trump’s (R-Florida) 2017 inauguration.
“And Paul just left, and he’s given us his total support,” Heavy claims Trump said of Singer in 2017. Thus, Carlson’s charges that big money operators; such as Singer, have incredible levels of influence over Republicans are valid.
Disturbingly, Carlson claims an unnamed political figure told him not to go after Singer in an e-mail. Hence Carlson’s days at Fox News could end.
Is Carlson Right about Singer and Sasse?
Pointedly, Carlson notes his staff could find not a single public comment about Sidney’s fate from U.S. Senator Ben Sasse (R-Nebraska). Furthermore, Carlson alleges Sasse received the maximum campaign contribution from Singer in 2014.
Interestingly, Sasse tells reporters he thinks America faces “a civic crisis,” Roll Call reports. However, Sasse says that “civic crisis” comprises opioid-based drugs and socialism. Predictably, Carlson claims Sasse refused to comment for his story.
Big Money battles Main Street for Conservatism’s Soul
Correctly, Carlson notes that those hurt by vulture capitalism are often the voters conservatives need. Rural whites, working-class whites, social conservatives, Christians, Evangelicals, and white nationalists, for example.
Thus, Carlson publicly exposes a battle for conservatism’s soul between big money and main street. However, the evidence shows big money is winning.
For instance, American Conservative pundit; and Carlson super fan, Rod Dreher charges Congressional Republicans ignore religious liberty issues out of fear of offending donors such as Singer. Singer; who is gay, has donated over $10 million to gay rights groups since 2009, Heavy.com notes.
Notably, Singer is a strong supporter of gay marriage. Dreher thinks Singer’s money explains why Republican congressional staffers offered no laws to overturn the U.S. Supreme Court’s Obergefell decision which legalized gay marriage.
Essentially, Dreher believes big money is trying to destroy conservative values while the Republican establishment does nothing. That is a stretch, but Singer’s brand of predatory capitalism has destructive effects on traditional communities.
How Carlson can Blow up the Republican Party
Carlson claims Republican leaders; such as Trump and Sasse, care more about Big Money than traditional values. That argument is not unique to Republicans.
Leftists; such as U.S. Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont), make a similar critique of the Democratic Party. The difference is Democrats are discussing the problem, while Republicans ignore it.
I think Carlson could blow up the Republican Party by publicizing that conundrum. To Republicans’ discomfort, many people saw Carlson’s attack on Sasse and Singer. Mediate estimates Tucker Carlson Tonight had 3.63 million viewers on 3 December 2019.
Trump; in particular, is vulnerable here because a popular argument for his election is that a billionaire such as the Donald is immune to Big Money’s influence. However, in office Trump is proving susceptible to Big Money’s charms.
The Danger for Republicans
The greatest danger for Republicans is that social conservatives will either not vote or vote Democratic.
Exposes such as Carlson’s could convince many social conservatives that the Grand Old Party (GOP) and politics are corrupt. Cultural conservatives, for instance, could avoid all politics out of fear of being corrupted by then.
Another danger for the GOP is that cultural and social conservatives will lose their only reason not to vote Democrat. To explain, Main Street Conservatives vote Republican; although the party often works against their economic interests, because they think the GOP defends their values.
If Main Street Conservatives think Republicans oppose their values, they will have no reason not to vote Democrat. For example, a cultural conservative could think, “the Democrats disrespect my values but at least they want to increase my Social Security, offer my kids free college, provide free healthcare, or pay me a basic income. All those damned Republicans do is lie to me.”
The conservative concludes; “if I cannot get respect, I can at least get a little more money in my bank account.”
The Cultural Conservatives’ Dilemma
Finally, Carlson raises a troubling question that cultural conservatives; such as Dreher, understand but ignore.
The question is: “what is more destructive to Main Street Culture; Paul Singer and his predatory capitalism or the Social Justice Warriors, and their Woke Culture?”
Yes, the Social Justice Warriors are obnoxious, intolerant, and oppressive. However, the Social Justice Warriors do not destroy jobs, wreck communities, or take the food off middle-class family’s tables. Singer, on the other hand, has destroyed jobs, devastated middle-class families, and wrecked Main Street Communities.
Therefore, Republicans could have to choose between Main Street and Big Money if they want votes. In addition, all conservatives will have to choose between their values and Big Money.
Thus, the real message of Carlson’s troubling critique is that Conservatism has sold its soul to Big Money. I think the real question conservatives need to ask is it too late for Conservatism to get its soul back from Big Money?
By asking that question, Tucker Carlson could destroy American Conservatism and undermine the Republican Party. Or Carlson could save the GOP form itself only time will tell what happens.
Originally published at https://marketmadhouse.com on December 8, 2019.