“You will not replace us” — Both sides of Tucker Carlson’s replacement theory and why some of it is true
Carlson Tucker is doubling down on his replacement theory, suggesting the democrats are running an elaborate scheme to import as many immigrants as possible to gain blue-leaning voters in order to keep winning elections. The “You will not replace us” banners seen back in Charlottesville, sported by the handsome dapper gentlemen (JK) of various white supremacist groups, are referring to the same theory. They preceded Tucker’s version of the story by a few years, drawing their inspiration from an underground source peddling this fabulous conspiracy theory. It’s unnerving listening to Carlson or any of the right wing primetime anchors because so many people are treating the story as gospel truth. You want to have Fox shut down, but that’s not what a free country does. You listen and you smile, and you trust that most people have enough horse sense to reject the narrative. Replacement theory is good bait for disgruntled people.
Is there any truth to it? Not in its popular conspiracy theory form, no. We’re not importing people to add blue voters. First of all, the Latino and South-East Asian immigrant communities don’t make very good blue voters, with easily half of them manifesting pro-Trump and MAGA voting preferences. Secondly, this would be a very slow-moving and ineffective strategy for any Democratic Party think tank to adopt, and if it did work, would not yield fruits for 10+ years — an eternity in politics. No, we are not importing people to add blue voters. We’re granting H1B visas to qualified professionals who can fill open jobs that need to be done. This is not driven by a blue agenda but by a gap in qualified staff for critical jobs that need to get done.
There may be some truth to the replacement theory if we examine what’s happening to the labor markets and who are the winners and losers. From here, we could extrapolate what kind of sentiment being generated within each of the communities as a result of what they observe and tell each other. Imagine a poor working class community in West Virginia, decimated by coal mine closures and with the local economy weakened, impacting employment opportunities across the board. Imagine in parallel, a poor black community with lots of unemployment and few job prospects. These people will see educated immigrants of all colors getting into good jobs at hospitals and medical offices, universities, research institutions and pharma companies. They will feel a twinge of resentment as they leave the hospital after visiting grandma, returning to their terrible jobs at Walmart and fast food chains, or their unemployment checks and bleak prospects. They can’t help but feel robbed or in some way cheated.
The fix is in. Or so Tucker says. America is importing qualified IT professionals, nurses, radiologists and dozens of other skilled and professional class roles. We’re leaving the uneducated people to fester in their bleak situation, as manufacturing jobs and warehouse jobs keep disappearing. Four decades of education cuts have produced millions of unemployable people, except for the worst jobs in retail and fast food. No unions, no benefits, no vacation pay, horrible shifts, no career path — soul destroying shithouse jobs. These people grew up in factory worker communities where a single earner family was able to put two kids through college and retire comfortably in a paid-off home. Now they watch helplessly as America fills its decent job vacancies with qualified professionals, many coming from other countries. All we needed next was a right wing agitator to harness the anger, and we have ourselves a white supremacist movement. Enter News, AON, Newsmax and Q. We have created a fire hazard by embracing globalization while decimating free education. The combination has left us with a lot of combustible material and the right wing media is busy setting it on fire.
Yes, we are replacing you. But we didn’t plan it this way and we did not consciously strategize to undermine the American working family. Actually, there is no “we”. There is no plan. There is no “they”. The globalization of trade and the easing of people-movement was inevitable and most of us thought it was a great idea. The ability for Arvind to study computer science in New Delhi and move to New York to write code for a fin-tech outfit paying him 100x what he would have made in India was very enticing to him and other Indian students, and also to New York fin-tech employers. What could go wrong?
I recently ran into a group of people gathering at a trendy restaurant. A middle eastern woman I know was in the group — she’s 30-something and she looked sassy in her backless dress with chunky black boots. She grew up in a repressive and misogynist culture, studied mathematics and data science, and then fled to America to seek opportunity. Look at her now — free, successful, confident and going places. She makes $250K a year. The imams back in Damascus must be seething: she should be tending goats in some slum, subservient to an unemployed bully. Akilah is new in America and movin’ on up, while many poor Americans are moving down. If Tucker Carlson met Akilah he might invite her to his show and user her to show poor white people they are being replaced. Here is a muslim immigrant woman with possible ISIS members in her distant family, and relatives who practice sharia law, and we’re paying her $250K a year. I know her from when we worked together — I know she deserves every penny of her great salary because she is brilliant and her leadership talent is rare. Tucker will make it sound like she stole the job from a West Virginia man who didn’t go to college and is currently working at McDonald’s. The rest of us know that was never going to happen: there’s an IQ gap. Akilah is brilliant. Burger boy is not.
This is not a poor white people problem. It’s a problem for poor black people, poor white people, poor native Americans, poor Asian Americans and poor any-color people. It’s a perception problem, more than a straight-facts problem, but it is a real problem for all of us because it’s making political hay. It’s too easy for Tucker to spout his replacement story because poor people everywhere are seeing immigrants holding down much better jobs and taking home prettier paychecks.
While the woke people are screaming about white privilege, white men being the root of all evil, male fragility, eat the rich, and police as the core of systemic racism, the far right groups are recruiting uneducated white men to sit in bunkers, polishing their guns, preparing for the next militia attack on the socialist architects of replacement. The January 6th siege of the Capitol was just a dress rehearsal. Tucker Carlson knows this and is helping prepare for it. The progressive liberals in the faculty lounge are busy inventing a new term that attacks the American white male as the root cause of all problems, and will be taught in next year’s social sciences classes. Poor people in America have been divided into two warring tribes, preventing them from uniting and forming an invincible political force for financial recalibration and massive reduction of the wealth gap. Neither side is stopping to see that they’re in the same (sinking) boat. Yes, you are being replaced. If the political spectrum could be bent into a horseshoe shape, we could see that the Bernie crowd and the MAGA crowd have more in common than they each realize. They both hate elites, rich people, and they both fester in the alienation caused by the wealth gap, both concluding that they have no fair shot at success in this rigged system. Yet, they are on opposing sides of a deep sectarian divide that prevents them from forming an effective movement. I’m sorry to attack the woke folk, but I see their antiracism efforts as divisive and offering absolutely no benefit to poor back people. Like a noisy leaf blower in the neighborhood, lots of noise but not useful.
Joe Biden sees the landscape more clearly than does Elizabeth Warren, Bernie Sanders, AOC, Paul Krugman or Robert Reich, all of whom focus on America’s poorest and most needy, forgetting to connect with working families and struggling small business owners. Biden sees the need for a middle class revival and his infrastructure plan is the right medicine to start this wave. Initially fueled by deficit spending, then eventually self-propelled, as new job types and new business types emerge in our new post-Covid, post-Trump economy, funded by the new wealth of the middle class families, not by the government. The tide that lifts these boats will also shift voters from MAGAland over to Bidenland. This will be uncomfortable for the very sensitive woke people from academic circles, because many of our new purple friends will bring with them some 2nd amendment gun rights talk, some pro-life talk, and even some anti-immigration talk. We’ll find a way — we’ll make it work. Come on down, have a seat, welcome.
Many job types will disappear — not due to immigration or China or a collapse in stock markets, but because technology eats jobs and we can’t stop that tide. The Biden infrastructure plan will create so many new jobs that we will see a net increase, despite the tech tide that vaporizes jobs. As the new jobs come online we will see excellent racial and gender diversity, but sadly there will be three groups left out of the party: the poorest white and the poorest black people, and the people aged 55 and over. Nobody is lobbying for the oldies, the boomers and the broke people who can’t retire. CNN and the WaPo will make lots of noise about poor urban black people not benefitting as the new jobs come to town, but nobody will effectively mentor and help them get those jobs. A good sob story sells ads, but doing something to help doesn’t make them money.
America has PTSD from its ordeal with Trumpism and Covid. This explains our emotional meltdowns when we disagree. It explains the woke people’s inability to process a discussion where someone disagrees with them — they break down like a traumatized child that didn’t receive their participation trophy in Montessori school. It explains the passion of the Capitol rioters who appear to believe wholeheartedly that the election was stolen and that the Covid vaccine is a socialist mind-altering ploy to weaken their patriotism. America has several very serious problems, all exacerbated by political division and the social media misinformation addiction that is hurting the left almost and the right alike. We need to exercise our atrophied empathy muscle. We need to see a common shared vision of a country that is color blind, fair, democratic and open. We need to respect the views of those who disagree with us. We probably need to cut off the extreme 10% of voices on each end of the political spectrum from our incoming streams of information, focusing on the ‘middle 80%’ as the voice of reason and worthwhile discussion. This means accepting that in a free speech democracy there will always be voices of loony toons, hate groups, conspiracy theorists and religious nutjobs, driven by divisive agendas. We don’t need to suppress them: we need to make more sense than they do. We need to be kind to each other. Individually, we need to be kind to ourselves, fighting our addictions, our fears, our prejudices and our resentments. We need to reject guilt trips thrown at us by media agitators: no, you didn’t cause that problem. Go about your day and be good to yourself, your family and most of all, your friends.
If Biden’s plan comes to fruition, you will not be replaced.