"Tucker Carlson Tonight" (Fox News)

Carlson: Abrams "is telling Americans they must hate their neighbors for the color of their skin"

The Fox News star portrays Abrams as a demagogue seeking to marginalize white men in a new primetime segment


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Shira Tarlo
February 7, 2019 5:27PM (UTC)

Tucker Carlson took aim Wednesday night at Stacey Abrams, the Democratic Party's choice to deliver the response to President Donald Trump's State of the Union address, who the Fox News host claimed "is telling Americans they must hate their neighbors for the color of their skin."

Citing Abrams' recently published essay, "Identity Politics Strengthens Democracy," to make his case, the "Tucker Carlson Tonight" host portrayed Abrams as a demagogue seeking to marginalize white men. In her piece, Abrams writes, "By embracing identity and its prickly, uncomfortable contours, Americans will become more likely to grow as one."

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Carlson, who has asserted before to widespread criticism that diversity is not America's strength, claimed that Abrams is "selling bitter division" and looking to rally the "marginalized to unite against the dominant groups," specifically white men. He noted that "marginalized people," according to Abrams, include "women, Native Americans, African Americans, immigrants and the LGBTQ community."

"The dominant are everyone who is left. So do the subtraction – that's only one group. You know exactly who they are – and so does Stacey Abrams," Carlson continued. "She says 'these people' –  'these' unnamed people – are responsible for the suffering of everyone else," he added, before suggesting that Abrams wants to forcefully "overthrow" white men, because "she uses the language of violence and war to describe what must come next."

"Politics is the most effective method of revolt," Carlson quoted Abrams as writing, before asking himself, "Revolt? People get hurt in revolts – that’s the nature of revolts. Stacey Abrams knows that. She wants one, anyway. She doesn't hide it."

Carlson further stoked racial resentment among his Fox News viewers that Abrams was "inventing a common enemy that everyone can oppose," comparing her to "Democrats in the Jim Crow South."

"The problem is," Carlson added, "these 'dominant groups,' as Stacey Abrams says, aren't some foreign invader from a faraway land. They're your countrymen."

The Fox News host concluded his remarks by claiming that Abrams, along with the leaders of the Democratic Party, were "telling Americans they must hate their neighbors for the color of their skin."

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"It's possible this will work one more time, but then what happens after the election?" Carlson asked. "Abrams doesn't answer that question in her piece. She doesn't care, but the rest of us should think about it. No election is worth the hatred and the division of identity politics – not if you plan to live here, anyway."

Abrams, the former Democratic candidate for governor of Georgia, became the first black woman in the country to win a major party nomination for governor during the 2018 midterm election cycle. In her speech on Wednesday, she invoked the segregated Jim Crow South and the milestones of the civil rights movement, urging America to both acknowledge and continue to right the ongoing scars and stains of racism and inequality that cast a shadow over the country. In doing so, Abrams positioned herself as a clear foil to Trump, who infamously argued  "there's blame on both sides" as president in the wake of the violence spawned by neo-Nazis and white supremacists in Charlottesville.

"In this time of division and crisis, we must come together and stand for and with one another," she said. "America has stumbled time and again on its quest towards justice and equality. But with each generation, we have revisited our fundamental truths, and where we falter, we make amends."

"We fought Jim Crow with the Civil Rights Act and the Voting Rights Act, yet we continue to confront racism from our past and in our present — which is why we must hold everyone from the very highest offices to our own families accountable for racist words and deeds — and call racism what it is," she continued. "Wrong."

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Shira Tarlo

Contact Shira Tarlo at shira.tarlo@salon.com. Follow @shiratarlo.

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