Friday on MSNBC’s “All In,” host Chris Hayes suggested that FNC’s Tucker Carlson, his 8 p.m. ET competitor on cable news, was akin to former Ku Klux Klan grand wizard David Duke for suggesting the Biden administration had political and economic motivations for its lax border policy, which has led to the influx of migrants through the U.S.-Mexico border by the tens of thousands.
Hayes declared Carlson’s criticisms “vicious stupidity.”
Transcript as follows:
HAYES: Ever since there have been immigrants coming to America in large numbers, there have been bigots and racists who did not want them.
One consistent argument those bigots and racists have made is that the newcomers would overrun the people who were already here. This is really old standard stuff. And usually, it was about race, ethnicity, or religion. It of course happened to the Irish and the Italians and the Jews and the Chinese.
In fact, the first bit of immigration legislation in this country was literally the Chinese Exclusion Act. It happened to Mexicans, most recently, Haitians.
The fundamental message of these bigots across time, is that these bad other dirty people, uncivilized, different than us will overrun and replace us, the good pure Americans.
Here’s the former Grand Wizard of the KKK, David Duke making that argument, as well as an updated version you may have heard very recently.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DAVID DUKE, FORMER GRAND WIZARD, KKK: I think that our heritage in this country is being lost. I’m not against to the rights of any minorities but I think this country is on its way to being a third world nation.
TUCKER CARLSON, FOX NEWS CHANNEL HOST: We have a moral obligation to admit the world’s poor, they tell us, even if it makes our own country poor and dirtier and more divided.
DUKE: Right now, America’s being made over, we’re losing the integrity of our society. Our children are going to be growing up as strangers in their own land.
CARLSON: An unrelenting stream of immigration, but why? Well, Joe Biden just said it, to change the racial mix of the country, that’s the reason. To reduce the political power of people whose ancestors lived here and dramatically increase the proportion of Americans newly arrived from the third world.
DUKE: You have a rapidly declining European American majority. And if we don’t reverse this soon, we will be a minority in our own country.
And at that point, we will be outnumbered and out voted in our land. And no matter what you think about any issue, you will be powerless to make your voice heard in government.
CARLSON: This policy is called the great replacement, the replacement of legacy Americans with more obedient people from faraway countries.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HAYES: I got to say, in a lot of those moments, Tucker Carlson is a lot more overt with his bigotry than the former KKK guy.
Now, many people have been understandably shocked by how audaciously racist this argument is, and it is indeed. But it’s also worth actually confronting it because it is not just racist, it is also stupid.
Now, those things are related because racism is a form of stupidity. But in this case, I want to confront the core idea because the text of this argument is also said over this subtext.
These are the images I’m sure you have seen. These are the people leaving one of the poorest countries in the world, Haiti. They’ve made an incredibly perilous track, they have gone across the water, that’s the Rio Grande there, to cross from Mexico to the U.S. and set up a camp under a Texas bridge, hoping to apply for asylum, which we got can’t stress enough, is their right under national, our laws and international law.
It’s a right that was suspended by the Trump administration with the help of Stephen Miller, and whose suspension has been continued by the Biden administration, essentially leading to those folks, those Haitian people being rounded up and deported back to Haiti.
Now, for the record, this is what it looks like under that bridge today, the entire camp is empty.
Today, the Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas announced that all the migrants there have been removed, some are being returned to Haiti, a majority of them are now headed for immigration proceedings.
But these are the images that have been airing around the clock on Fox News because these images communicate something. They speak far louder than any arguments can.
Whenever they show you a large group of people at the border, it is because the images like this are meant to scare you. They’re meant to tell you, you Americans sitting at home watching the T.V., that these people are coming to take what is yours, to overrun you and to stimulate the deepest part of your brain in the brainstem that is scared of strangers and foreigners, a part of the brain that we all have.
It’s a very profound and effective form of politics, not just here, but across the world in all kinds of different contexts. It’s one of the most dangerously ascendant and virulent forms of demagoguery the world over, particularly at this moment, the world has become smaller and people are moving across borders more than ever.
Now, I’d like to spell out some of the many reasons why this particular racism isn’t just morally vicious, but deeply stupid.
First of all, it’s almost too obvious to state but I’m going to say it anyway, no one’s being replaced. If you’re watching me right now, and let’s say the U.S. allowed every one of those Haitians to apply for asylum, you wouldn’t get kicked out of the country. It’s not the way it works.
America is not a nightclub where people have to come out before other people can come in. It’s actually a really big country with nearly 330 million people. So, a few thousand people are not replacing anyone.
HAYES: Number two, the David Dukes and the Tucker Carlsons of the world want to portray the people who are trying to come here as in Tucker’s words, obedient, as mindless drones were being imported because they will do whatever Democrats tell them.
Think about it for just half a second, OK? These people are dumb, one of the most difficult ambitious things a human being can do. They left their homes at great personal cost and risk, they cross thousands of miles to a completely foreign land where most of them don’t know anyone and don’t speak the language in the slim hope of a better life.
Whatever you want to call that, that’s the opposite of obedient. Whatever you want to say about the folks showing up in these conditions, these are go-getters by definition. That’s a much tougher row to hoe than just being a legacy case who cruises on your name and your family connections.
The other part of that claim that does not make any sense is the idea that anyone knows what politics these people believe or how they will vote.
One of the remarkable things we saw in 2020 was there a lot of immigrants who voted for Donald Trump.
New York Times wrote, “Many areas with large populations of Latinos and residents of Asian descent, including ones with the highest numbers of immigrants had something in common this election, a surge in turnout and a shift to the right, often a sizable one.”
You know what? People are complicated. All people. No matter where they come from, and what they look like, still human beings, still complicated.
What logical reason will the Republican Party or conservatives have to broadly dismiss an opportunity to grow the party to the movements’ base?
And finally, Tucker Carlson is alleging some conspiracy by the Democratic Party to bring new liberal voters in, but the truth is just about the opposite.
I have been covering this issue for 16 years. I wrote a story in 2006 and end up getting spiked about the McCain-Kennedy Comprehensive Immigration Reform.
I’ve been covering it for two Democratic administrations, at no point have Democrats passed Comprehensive Immigration Reform to legalize the 11 million people who are here without legal status.
And according to the State Department from February to the end of August, the U.S. of the Biden administration has admitted, just over 6,000 refugees in a country of 330 million people.
If this is a big conspiracy by the Democrats to import a ton of new voters, they are doing a very bad job at it, aren’t they?
The reality is that the last two Democratic presidents have had pretty strong enforcement first policy approaches of the border. That was the case under Barack Obama, it’s the case under Joe Biden right now.
And of course, the disgusting irony is that that wrong and again, stupid racist message about replacement is being pounded into people’s heads, so that people like Joe Biden and other Democrats get scared of that reaction.
And they send these desperate people who have undertaken one of the most courageous things a person can undertake back to where they came from. That’s the whole point.
And I’m sorry, but we cannot allow this vicious stupidity to win.
Follow Jeff Poor on Twitter @jeff_poor