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by Ed West
Wednesday, 18
September 2019

Tucker Carlson: America’s most important pundit

by Ed West

Here’s a rare “Question to which the Answer Is Yes” in a headline. In The New York Magazine Park MacDougald asks ‘Is Tucker Carlson the Most Important Pundit in America?’

It’s not just that the Fox host has the ear of the US President, but that he’s at the very centre of the conservative zeitgeist.

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More than anything, he espouses the Middle American radicalism that John Judis, writing in 2016, identified as the ideological core of Trumpism. Middle American radicals (MARs) are neither fully liberal nor conservative but a blend of the two, mixing populist economics and a hostility to big business with intense nationalism, right-wing positions on race and immigration, and a desire for strong presidential leadership. Their animating idea is that the broad (and implicitly white) middle of American society — those Carlson referred to, in a podcast interview with Ben Shapiro, as people with “100 IQs making 80 grand a year” — is besieged on two sides, by a corrupt elite above it and a grasping underclass below. 
- Park MacDougald

As progressivism has become more elite-driven and concerned, so conservativism inevitably becomes more anti-elitist, a trend dating back to the 1960s but which has drastically accelerated with the Great Realignment.

This means a move away from a Thatcher-Reagan vision and towards something, in my view, more authentically Burkean – and Tucker is at the forefront of that.

In their debate Ben Shapiro argued that people need to move to where the jobs are, because the government wasn’t going to bail them out, and conservatism is inherently aligned with free markets.

Tucker responded by asking why the average worker should have to up sticks and leave their families in order to work for some heartless progressive billionaire who despises them and their values, and why Americans should have to stand for this situation, which isn’t inevitable. Whether one agrees with him or not, the way the political axes are shifting means that Tucker is the future of conservatism.

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