Of all the journalist and pundits in the popular media Tucker Carlson would appear to be the least likely to go rogue. The weekend co host of Fox and Friends and top editor of the Daily Caller has written a post for Politico that has flummoxed his conservative brothers in arms. As far as Carlson is concerned the conservative establishment is getting exactly what it deserves in the person of Donald Trump. The Republican Party and the conservative intellectual community have tuned out the rank and file for so long that they have no idea who they are or what they think. They had assumed that the were lassie faire conservatives domestically and Neo Cons in the area of foreign affairs but the voters have grown poorer with open borders and trade that something less than free. They are wary and weary of nation building. Rather than light a candle the power elite prefers to curse the darkness. The establishment has been so far out of sync with everyday Republicans all it can do is curse them. They regard Trump (rightly) as a traitor to his class. They regard the fellows and directors of the not for profit conservative think tanks as the high priests of conservative orthodoxy and the base as hayseed heretics deserving of their contempt.
Washington is doing fine, thank you, and what good for Washington is good for America. Carlson points out two areas, areas of academic concern to the establishment, but bread and butter issues to the base that Trump has grabbed as his own, immigration and trade. " If you live in an affluent ZIP code, it’s hard to see a downside to mass low-wage immigration. Your kids don’t go to public school. You don’t take the bus or use the emergency room for health care. No immigrant is competing for your job. (The day Hondurans start getting hired as green energy lobbyists is the day my neighbors become nativists.) Plus, you get cheap servants, and get to feel welcoming and virtuous while paying them less per hour than your kids make at a summer job on Nantucket. It’s all good."
Even the most savvy Tea Party, libertarians missed the boat on immigration. Marco Rubio joined the Gang of 8 feeling he would eventually be vindicated, Jeb Bush observed that illegal immigration was an act of love and not even Ted Cruz thought it was a good idea to wall off the southern border. How quickly all that changed but Carlson views Trump's full frontal assault on political correctness as a change that is taking place even before the first primary vote has been cast. Trump says things that other politicians would be afraid to poll test. Voters have rewarded him by making him top dog in virtually every poll. When the big dog barks it makes many feel freer. Even those who don't agree with the statement are glad to hear someone state the obvious.
Naturally Carlson's insights have not gone down well with conservatives. Charles C. Cooke at National Review has written a spirited rejoinder. Essentially he argues that Carlson draws stronger conclusions than the evidence warrants. He then notes that Trump has yet to win an election and he could always lose. The base was wrong after all? He does however admit that issues of trade have redounded to the favor of the “white collar” contingent.
My own view is close to Carlson's. The world has changed but conservative orthodoxy has not. Establishment conservative imagine a world where in migration is controlled by a competitive labor market while ignoring the reality that the modern welfare state makes it possible for an illegal to take a low paying job from an American while his wage is supplemented by government handouts. Despite the fact that the earned income tax credit invites fraud-billions of dollars each year- it remains popular with the establishment.
In the area of free trade a semantic bait and switch has been perpetrated on the public. Free trade as defined by Obama, Boehner and Ryan has become a covert and underhanded deception more concerned with protections for favored industries than freedom and hell yes the "white collar" contingent gets well at the expense of the many.
My only concern with Trump is that he is not radical enough.