Like Trump, President Carlson spends his first term refashioning America along racial lines. But unlike Trump, whose one term is now regarded by much of the right as a best-forgotten political disaster, Carlson advances an ethnonationalist populism that succeeds in a wild, frightening fashion. His secret: competence, a commitment to true political realignment, and a brutal online political machine that represents the full flowering of the tactics and ideology first displayed during 2014’s Gamergate movement.
Where Trump was a chaotic, undisciplined narcissist, the Carlson who wins in 2024 is a canny political strategist who makes good on Trump’s forgotten promise to embrace anti-corporate economic policies. On paper, parts of Carlson’s agenda seem ripped from the former liberal firebrand Sen. Elizabeth Warren (now in exile in Toronto): His chief enemies are Google, Amazon, Apple, Facebook and Microsoft, the megacorporations owned and staffed by wealthy liberals.
It’s a winning electoral formula: A large minority of Americans are willing to forgive Carlson’s authoritarian, nativist impulses if they see it as part of a war against the out-of-touch, culture-destroying corporations that are automating our jobs; killing every other industry; and exercising complete control over what we watch, read, listen to, buy and believe. And in America, thanks to the Electoral College, winning over a large minority is good enough to regularly win the presidency.