Tucker Carlson: Trump could well lose the election – he must defend America’s institutions
The president has lost ground during the coronavirus pandemic and mass riots when his strengths should have been highlighted
Not many people are saying it out loud on the right, but the fact is that President Trump could well lose this election. In fact, unless fundamental facts change soon, it could be tough for him to be reelected.
If the president does lose, that would mean that just a few months from now, Joe Biden would become the president. The United States government would fall under the control of the radicals who control Joe Biden, and they will remake the country.
Now, we’re fully aware that virtually nobody watching this show wants to hear that, but it’s true and key people around the president know that it’s true. They’ve seen the numbers. They’re concerned.
At some point in the future, historians will marvel at the fact that the president lost ground during a pandemic and then during mass riots. Both crises should have highlighted his strengths. They were naturals for him.
Alone among national leaders, Donald Trump warned Americans for decades about China and the perils of globalization. Everything about the Wuhan coronavirus proved Donald Trump right. China really is our main global adversary. The Chinese government really does want to take over the world.
Meanwhile, the fact that we sent our manufacturing base abroad really has weakened us badly. The most powerful nation on Earth no longer makes antibiotics. Maybe we’re not as powerful as we think.
All of that is very obvious now after the pandemic, but Donald Trump called it. You’d think voters would reward him for that. You’d think the riots would have increased their support for him.
An awful lot of people voted for Donald Trump precisely to avoid a moment like the one we’re now in. None of this arrived suddenly; we saw it coming. Social cohesion in America has been eroding for decades. People sensed that; it made them nervous. It should make them nervous.
Donald Trump seemed like insurance against the consequences of that. The core appeal of Trump was, if things ever started to fall apart, he would defend you. Yes, he was loud and crude. Most bodyguards are. Only a man like Donald Trump was tough enough to fight the creeping authoritarianism of the education cartel in corporate America.
When widespread looting and disorder arrived, the president did not act as decisively as many had hoped. He said little, he did less. Some voters felt undefended, some turned against him.
If Trump got elected, you could say what you really believed. The basic promise of America could be restored, you could live with dignity. Under Donald Trump, you wouldn’t be forced to mouth the lyrics to some repulsive little orthodoxy you hate. You could declare out loud that all lives matter because all lives do matter. God made us all. And if you can’t say that, what’s the point of living here?
Donald Trump never quite articulated any of this in a precise way. He’s not an intellectual or an ideologue. But it was obvious, he felt it strongly. Trump’s gut-level instincts were on the side of order and tradition and stability, and they still are.
And yet, when widespread looting and disorder arrived, the president did not act as decisively as many had hoped. He said little, he did less. Some voters felt undefended, some turned against him.
Why did this happen? Well, there are many reasons.
Trump was exhausted, for one thing. after three years of defending himself against “Russiagate,” the most elaborate and effective hoax in American history, and his staff did not do very much to help. Some of them were actively disloyal. Most were just confused. They definitely were not prepared for Chinese viruses or burning cities.
But the administration’s main problems were conceptual. Few seemed to understand what was really happening. Their first mistake was forgetting the primary rule of Washington: In an election year, everything that happens is about the election. There are no exceptions to that rule.
Washington is a political city; it’s run by politicians. If the Chinese Navy sailed up the Potomac in the fall of an election year, the first thing most people in D.C. would wonder is, how is that going to affect turnout? That’s who they are. It’s how they think.
So only the naive were surprised when Democratic governors immediately used the coronavirus quarantines to punish people who didn’t vote for them. Christian churches and small businesses were locked down. Weed shops and abortion clinics stayed open.
Most Trump voters seemed not to notice. They accepted the restrictions without question. This was a health crisis, and they wanted to do the right thing. So they obeyed. They cowered in their homes, and that’s exactly where Democratic leaders wanted them — cut off from one another, atomized and alone.
The few conservatives who tried to organize resistance to the lockdowns were indicted or threatened with arrest. None of this had anything to do with public health, of course. It was electoral politics, an especially brutal form of it.
Republican leaders meanwhile, were remarkably slow to catch on to what was happening. Some of them aren’t very bright, but most just couldn’t imagine anyone acting with that level of cynicism and ruthlessness. Their good faith made them vulnerable to their opponent’s lies. They were used.
In the days after George Floyd died, these same trends accelerated dramatically. It all happened so fast that it seemed like chaos at the time. But it wasn’t chaos. There was design just beneath the surface.
Consider the targets that the mob chose. Law enforcement, obviously, but not all law enforcement. Local police departments must be eliminated, they said, but the FBI is just fine — and that was telling.
Then they claimed that capitalism was the enemy, but only certain kinds of capitalism. The mob burned independent businesses to the ground by the score. They didn’t say a word about those businesses’ digital competitors, Google and Apple and Amazon. All of those companies were funding the destruction.
Then the mob told us that traditional Christianity was racist. They desecrated churches in the name of avenging slavery. And yet Antifa did not touch a single mosque, despite the fact that historians say Mohammed owned slaves.
As all of this progressed, Democrats continued their lectures about gun control, as they always do, but they ignored the rifles in the hands of their own supporters in downtown Seattle. The real threat, they told us, was rural Americans with their AR-15s. We better get the FBI on that — arrest more farmers.
In other words, what looked like protests were in fact highly effective attacks on Donald Trump’s voters, his power base. Few in Washington clearly appreciated this, at least on the right. If they had, they would have told the country what was really happening. No, this is not about George Floyd. It’s not about police brutality. It’s a power grab by violent extremists. But they didn’t understand that.
So weeks into the rioting, the social media accounts of the White House were still producing ham-handed posts about Juneteenth. No one was convinced by them, no one was reassured. Instead, many voters were becoming increasingly agitated by the lawlessness they saw all around them. Who is going to protect us from this, they wondered. The social media account did nothing to answer that question.
We want to play for you two pieces of tape that help illustrate what life is like for many Americans right now. Neither one of these shows graphic violence. We can easily find tape that does show it — there’s an awful lot of it out there.
But what we’re going to play instead for you is, in some ways, maybe more insidious than assault. What you’ll hear is neglect, and neglect is itself a form of violence. The first tape is from a small town, Fredericksburg, Va. It’s a 911 call recorded earlier this month.
A woman called Tara Durant took her young daughter on errands downtown. As the two tried to drive home, a mob surrounded their vehicle and blocked it from moving. Several people jumped on Durant’s car and screamed obscenities at her child. Terrified, Tara Durant called 911. And here’s the response she got:
Tara Durant: They are on my car, alright? They are my car right now!
911 Dispatcher: But we would suggest you slowly drive through the area. Don’t hit anyone with your vehicle.
Durant: I can’t. I cannot get out of here, okay?
Dispatcher: Please be patient. I’ll let the officers know, okay?
Durant: Are you serious? You guys have not —
Dispatcher: We can’t do anything, ma’am. The city told us that this is a sanctioned event.
Durant: Get out of my car.! You know, this is going to get dangerous. I’ve got a kid here.
Dispatcher: Yes, ma’am. We would suggest you call up city hall to let them know about your frustrations.
Durant: Get out of the way! Get out of the way! This is getting scary. They’re on my car! They’re on my car! And I’ve got a little girl in the car crying. Are you kidding me?
“They’re on my car! They are on my car!” “Ma’am,” comes the reply. “We would suggest you call up city hall to let them know about your frustrations.” Those are verbatim quotes. It’s hard to listen to that tape without feeling emotional.
A woman and her child were terrorized by a violent mob, and then they were intentionally abandoned by the state that has promised to protect them. It was the ultimate betrayal of citizenship.
You should know that the mayor of Fredericksburg, Virginia, a woman called Mary Katherine Greenlaw later apologized. But Greenlaw did not apologize to Tara Durant or her young daughter. The mayor apologized to the mob.
Police had tried to disperse them while they were rioting. “I am personally sorry,” Mayor Greenlaw slobbered. “I want to apologize to those who went through this fearful experience.”
Again to be crystal clear, Mayor Greenlaw said that to the rioters, not to the citizens she had cruelly abandoned. All of that happened in a little town of 25,000 people. It’s happening in so many American towns right now.
Here’s what’s happening in our cities. This is a recent video from New York. You will be forgiven if you don’t recognize it. It looks like a foreign country.
As you watch, notice how the police respond to gunfire being fired in the open. The squad car just rolls on through. The cops don’t even slow down. They’ve been told not to. They don’t try to enforce the law. They can’t enforce the law.
Keep in mind, decent people live in that neighborhood. Decent people live in every American neighborhood. How would you feel if you lived there? You’d be very afraid. You’d feel like things were falling apart. More than anything else, you would want someone to restore order. You’d want a leader to take back your neighborhood from armed children because armed children are far more threatening than even the worst rogue cop — always.
But local leaders are not doing that. They are not restoring order. They’re ignoring the suffering of their people.
So, what is the White House doing about this? Well, the president announced two days ago that anyone who topples a statue on federal property will face 10 years in prison. That is a welcome start.
What we’re living through right now, despite what people have told, you is not a local problem. This is a national crisis. The riots are designed to produce a national result — the destruction of our system of government and the removal of Donald Trump.
People expect a president to respond to a moment like this, to fix it, and they have a right to expect that. The president runs the country. If the rioters were Saudi nationals, it would be very clear that there was nothing local about what we’re watching. We would understand immediately that it is terrorism.
The president would give a primetime address. Within hours, the feds would be hunting these people down and arresting them. If the rioters were white supremacist, they’d already be in prison facing life.
So the question is, why isn’t the Justice Department responding like this? That’s not clear. Some blame the White House Counsel’s Office. They say it is dominated by Bush partisans who are hostile to Trump. We don’t know if that’s true. If it is true, there’s an easy solution to it. Just ignore their counsel.
Send the lawyers to the basement until November and have them reorganize the card catalog, or read Reader’s Digest from the 70s. Only a fool lets lawyers make critical decisions anyway. They’re not wise. If they were, they probably wouldn’t be lawyers.
Others say career bureaucrats at DOJ or federal prosecutors in the states are dragging their feet. The attorney general, Bill Barr, says he is overseeing 500 separate investigations into rioters. Good for him. Presumably one of them is into the destruction of the Albert Pike statue in Washington. It took place last Friday. It was on live television. So far, no one has been arrested for it.
It would change the course of this country’s future if the Justice Department rounded up the leaders of Antifa tomorrow, along with every single person caught on camera torching a building, destroying a monument, defacing a church and put them all in shackles and then frog march them in front of cameras like MS-13 and call them what they actually are — domestic terrorists. Not protesters, not civil rights activists, not CNN contributors, but domestic terrorists. That would be their new government-approved title.
Once they’re charged, it’s official. In fact, they are literally, as a factual matter, accused terrorists. And that would change minds right away. The people destroying this country are criminals. Few are brave enough to call them that. So, naturally, their popularity grows. Everyone supports protesters. This is America, we believe in protest.
But watch what happens when you start calling them what they really are. Most people don’t like terrorists. Terrorists will never be popular, even among Democratic voters. So charge them for the crimes they’ve committed and call them what they are.
Right now, the opposite is happening. The terrorists are more popular than the president of the United States. And not just more popular than Donald Trump personally, but more popular than the system he represents and administers. And it’s obvious why. Our system is weak. It refuses to defend itself.
Mayors let new countries sprout in the middle of their cities. Our leaders act like laws are irrelevant. Everyone watches this happen. It’s a potentially fatal problem.
Weak institutions die. Citizens develop contempt for them, and then they get overthrown. The same is true by the way, for heads of state. When you refuse to fight for the system you run, you’re done. Spend an hour on Google and see if you can find a single leader in the history of the world who stayed in power after failing to quell a rebellion. You can’t.
The saddest part of all of this is that our system is very much worth saving. It administers justice more fairly than any system in the world. If we want to keep that system, we have to use that system and that means enforcing America’s laws with certainty, enforcing them right now, at the moment of greatest peril.
If we don’t do it now, we never will do it. Ignore a law long enough and it becomes unenforceable. You’d be shocked if you got pulled over for doing 58 in a 55 mile an hour zone, obviously.
Antifa’s leaders would be shocked if they were arrested for destroying a statue of Abraham Lincoln. Just a month ago destroying statues was a felony. Now, it’s allowed. What will we allow a month from now? What will we allow by November?
The point is, things change fast, and that includes social standards. They change very quickly, too. Just a few weeks ago, defunding the police sounded like a crackpot idea. Now, it’s happening. Millions of Americans support it.
Many Republican officeholders haven’t thought very deeply about why this is. Even now, you’ll see them grin at the latest insanity from the left. “Can you believe this? They’ve gone too far this time,” they’ll say. “There’s going to be a backlash.”
Really? When exactly will that backlash arrive? Because the opposite seems to be happening. What seemed awful the other day is normal now. It turns out that if you don’t bother to explain precisely why certain ideas are bad — if you don’t defend your own worldview — then you lose.
Bad ideas spread. They quickly congeal into conventional wisdom, and then you’re done. This is especially true right now, when everything in American life is up for grabs. The lockdowns shuffled the deck completely.
Four months ago, you’d assume you were going to spend the next 20 years going into an office somewhere. Now, you’re working from your couch. You’re starting to consider maybe moving to Bozeman, and why wouldn’t you? And while we’re at it, what else should we do differently?
Normal people are starting to think like this. Once big things start changing, they tend to change more quickly than we expect. All of this means, this is precisely the time, right now, to defend the institutions that we desperately need to keep in this country.
Those institutions include the nuclear family, our freedom of speech, small independent businesses, absolute colorblindness under the law, the noble tradition of nonviolent protests. Those are the things that make us proud to be Americans. Those are the things that make America a place worth living in.
We need to defend these things with everything we have, all of us must defend them, including the president. That is his hope of reelection.
For the rest of us, it’s our only hope as a country.
Adapted from Tucker Carlson’s monologue from “Tucker Carlson Tonight” on June 25, 2020.