Thursday, June 24, 2021

Free the Vote

 


“Free the vote!” Rev. Barber and more than 20 others arrested in DC
Busloads of people from 10 states showed up in Washington DC to demand voting rights yesterday—the day after all 50 Senate Republicans voted against a motion to begin debate on Senate Bill 1 (S1), aka the For the People Act. Our Moral March on Manchin & McConnell generated national attention and resulted in the arrest of more than 20 people, including Rev. Barber and Rev. Jesse Jackson.

Just two days after our Mass Assembly (recapped below), a boisterous crowd gathered in front of the US Supreme Court and marched to the Hart Senate office building to demand meetings with Senators McConnell and Manchin, two key opponents of S1. When Manchin and McConnell refused to meet with members of the PPC, clergy and community members linked arms and marched into the street, stopping traffic. Capitol Police started making arrests.

"We've come here today to say there are some things that are non-negotiable," said Rev. Barber, who was released later that afternoon. "We don't need an insurrection, we just need a nonviolent, moral mobilization and direct action."

The PPC released a video clip of highlights from the action, which you can view here. And getting arrested didn't stop the Rev. from appearing that evening on Cuomo Prime Time, where he gave his own recap and emphasized the fusion power behind the action.

Rep. Barbara Lee and the PPC ring in Child Credit Tax Awareness Day
On Monday, the PPC participated in a press conference held by Bay Area Congresswoman Barbara Lee at the Spanish Speaking Unity Council in Oakland. The goal: to raise awareness of the CTC and help impacted families secure their credits. Many families with children who are eligible for the newly expanded Child Tax Credit—a provision of the American Rescue Plan that provides $3,000 for children ages 6-17 and $3,600 for children under 6—still aren’t aware of it or don’t know how to apply. 

“Poverty is a policy choice, and we can choose to end it,” Congresswoman Lee said in advance of the press conference. (Rep. Lee is also a co-author of the Third Reconstruction resolution.) “This historic tax credit is one step towards dismantling poverty in America and ensuring the basic needs of all children are met.”

Sharon Lungo, a single mother of a kindergartener; Annie Banks, mother of a toddler; Jane Welford, grandmother of two; and CA PPC quad chair Nell Myhand appeared on behalf of the PPC. You can read their testimony on the importance of the CTC here. Representatives of the Unity Council and Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center also took part in the event.

Monthly benefit payments begin July 15. Info on the CTC, who’s eligible and how to apply can be found at getcovidresources.org.


RECAP

Moral Monday: Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers Mass Assembly
The Poor People’s Campaign returned to its roots on Monday, holding its 2021 Mass Assembly on a blazing-hot afternoon in Raleigh, North Carolina—the state where Moral Mondays began. Speakers across the country, both in-person and via Zoom, addressed the full range of interlocking injustices targeted by our campaign, and live musicians energized the crowd with songs and chants. You can watch the whole thing here. (Photos above and below by Steve Pavey.)

A prominent theme was the urgent need to protect voting rights. PPC co-chair Rev. Liz Theoharis evoked the actions that launched this incarnation of the PPC, reminding us that “North Carolina was ground zero for voting rights… Those attacks, those anti-democratic attacks are being spread throughout the country.” Benny Ivey of Strong Arms of JXN asked why he is still unable to vote, more than a decade after he was released from prison. And Armenta Eaton, member of Concerned Women for Justice and daughter of voting-rights legend "Mother" Rosanell Eaton, assured us that “victory is not given to the swift, nor to the strong, but those who endure to the end.”

President Biden, who had joined us at the 2020 Mass Assembly, delivered pre-recorded remarks: “I don’t think we’ve ever been together at a time of such opportunity to deliver dignity for our nation’s poor and low-wage workers,” he said. “To make ending poverty not just an aspiration—but a theory of change.”

Saturday, June 19, 2021

On Monday, June 21, 2021, at 2:30pm PT California Poor People's Campaign will gather online with poor people, low-wage workers, moral and faith leaders, and advocates from across the country for the National Poor People’s and Low-Wage Workers' Assembly to raise a chorus of voices demanding a moral revolution that puts the suffering of the 140 million+ poor and low-income people in the U.S. at the center of every policy debate. RSVP TODAY!

One year after the largest ever online gathering of poor and low-income people in this nation’s history, the Poor People’s Campaign will launch our organizing drive towards a massive and generationally-transformative in-person Moral March on Washington on June 18, 2022, where we will flood the streets of DC and create a national stage for the voices and leadership of people directly impacted by poverty, racism and their interlocking injustices

The event comes one month after the introduction of a congressional resolution for a Third Reconstruction: Fully Addressing Poverty and Low-Wages from the Bottom Up. Emerging from the pain and organizing power of the 140 million people living in poverty or with low wages in this nation, the congressional resolution reflects an omnibus vision for a fundamental restructuring of society that lifts from the bottom. This newest congressional effort comes as a response to years of movement-building to create the collective resolve necessary to implement real and transformational legislative action.


Use our sample posts, graphics and other resources below to help amplify the 3rd Reconstruction Resolution and our June 21st National Poor People's and Low-Wage Workers Assembly with your networks! Get the toolkit here!


 

Thursday, June 10, 2021

Tuesday, June 8, 2021

The Long Fillibuster Fight Has Begun

Ezra Levin, Co-Founder & Co-Executive Director, Indivisible 

June 7, 2021 

This democracy fight is coming to a head now, which means things are getting ugly. Manchin doesn’t want to move forward without GOP support, but he also doesn’t want to be squeezed, so he wrote his op-ed trying to head off a showdown...

 

If you had the misfortune of being online this weekend, you might have seen Senator Manchin’s op-ed explaining his opposition to the For the People Act (here). The piece is riddled with historical falsehoods and bizarre, antiquated political analysis. We won’t spend a lot of time on that (Rep. Mondaire Jones has a good thread on it here if you’re interested). But worth noting upfront: despite the intransigence of Senate Republicans, the For the People Act has overwhelming bipartisan support in West Virginia and across the country, including overwhelming majorities amongst Democrats, Independents, and Republicans. I’m here to give you my best take on what this means, what comes next, and what is to be done.

Here’s the short version: This democracy fight is coming to a head now, which means things are getting ugly. Manchin doesn’t want to move forward without GOP support, but he also doesn’t want to be squeezed, so he wrote his op-ed trying to head off a showdown where he comes off as the bad guy. Don’t get me wrong, his opposition in this moment is bad, but it’s not game over. We need to stop treating him with kid gloves, but most of all, we need top-level leadership from President Biden and Majority Leader Schumer, and we need grassroots-level leadership from all of you (click here to find out what you can do). One way or another, the showdown is coming soon.

First, why did Manchin write this op-ed now?

To understand Manchin’s actions, you have to view them in the context of recent events. We’re in the pre-negotiation phase of the democracy reform fight. What you’re seeing is posturing ahead of the showdown.

Just last week, Majority Leader Schumer announced plans to start forcing the GOP to actually filibuster bills. Their first filibuster was of the bipartisan Jan 6th commission. Schumer plans to bring up the Paycheck Fairness Act this week, and the For the People Act the week of June 21st.

The point of scheduling these votes is not because anybody believes they’d actually pass on the first try. Of course, they won’t pass — McConnell will filibuster them. Instead, the point of scheduling these votes is to force McConnell to filibuster — to demonstrate to Manchin and any other hold-out Senate Democrats that the other side will simply sink everything. Prove that Senate Republicans are just obstructionists, the logic goes, and then that will help unify the Senate Democrats to act.

But Manchin would prefer not to force that question. As misguided as it is, Manchin believes that to protect voting rights, we should have to get the consent of the party that is attacking voting rights. He wrote this op-ed to try and take the wind out of the sails of those setting up that showdown. If folks throw in the towel on the For the People Act, Manchin can go back to talking to Republican senators about roads and bridges.

So what comes next?

All attention has been on Manchin, and to a lesser extent, Senator Sinema, but the real main character in this play is Schumer. As Majority Leader, he controls the Senate calendar. He can’t make the pieces move, but it’s his job to set up the play. Manchin just threw a wrench in the gears, and so now he has to adapt.

The risk this week: The big risk we’re facing this week is that Manchin’s announcement derails Schumer’s plan to bring popular bills for a vote. That would look like Schumer canceling the planned vote, pointing to Sinema’s opposition to filibuster reform and Manchin’s op-ed, and saying, “Look, we tried, but we just don’t have the votes.” Another plausible version of this would be Schumer announcing that he is still fully committed to the For the People Act, but he is delaying the vote to some future unspecified date. Delay is death for this legislation.

This will be a crucial test of Schumer’s leadership: will he allow his plan to be derailed, or will he hold firm? Remember, Schumer has sworn up and down that “Failure is not an option” because he wants everybody to know how much he cares about this. Now’s the time to see if he backs up these words with action.

What victory will look like: If Schumer sticks to his guns, the first vote on the For the People Act will come the week of June 21st. As expected, McConnell will filibuster it. But then the fight goes on. Possibly Schumer forces McConnell to keep filibustering on the Senate floor for days or longer. When the Senate returns from the 4th of July recess, he brings up the bill again and forces McConnell to filibuster it again. He grinds senate business down to a halt, refusing action on anything until there is a vote on the For the People Act. All the while, during the days and weeks of the fight, senators offer amendments, the President uses the full power of his bully pulpit to focus national attention on the issue, and masses of grassroots advocates show up in communities across the country to demand Congress act to save the democracy.

If we win democracy-saving reforms this year, that’s what victory will look like.

What needs to happen

If we’re going to achieve that victory in the coming weeks, three things need to happen:

Isolate Manchin. If Manchin’s got 10 GOP votes for democracy, great — show us. If he doesn’t, he needs to stop enabling McConnell. Indivisible’s position is this: Democracy is on the line, and he needs to put up or shut up.

Historically, a senator who’s stroking his chin and making lofty pronouncements about bipartisanship can expect a warm response from much of Washington and his constituents. It’s really important that that not be Manchin’s experience with this op-ed. Manchin is doing what southern segregationist senators did for decades: using the filibuster to block voting rights legislation. Simple as that. No media figure, no Democratic politician, and certainly no grassroots advocate should give him any reinforcement. If you’re from West Virginia, you should be calling Manchin (duh!), but if you’re from anywhere else in the country, you should be demanding your senators speak out right now to reiterate that the path forward depends on For the People, not hazy ideas about compromising with a party of insurrectionists.

We can be honest that Manchin doesn’t care that much about pressure from his left — but there’s a big difference between getting pushed by the lefties and feeling the full weight of the entire party, congressional leadership, and the President pushing for a resolution here. And that brings us to…

Leadership from the top. Manchin is not the king of the universe — he’s a single senator working within a complex political system. And in that system, hard legislation never gets done unless key political leaders prioritize it. Since Manchin’s op-ed, we’ve seen no statement at all from President Biden or Majority Leader Schumer. Radio silence is not what you want to hear from your leaders at moments of national crisis. We need Schumer to publicly, loudly, forcefully recommit to getting democracy reform done before August recess. And we need President Biden using his full moral authority and bully pulpit power to drive the national conversation and urgency around the threats to our democracy.

Leadership from the grassroots. This is Indivisible’s whole theory of change: elected officials don’t do what their constituents want unless those constituents make them do it. This is why we showed up to save the Affordable Care Act. It’s why we demanded our Democratic House impeach Trump. And it’s why we have to show up creatively, forcefully, and in big numbers to encourage this Democratic trifecta to finally act. This is precisely why we are launching the Deadline for Democracy nationwide actions this Friday. We’ll have more details then — but suffice it to say this is the largest cross-movement coalition we’ve been part of since the fight to save Obamacare. You can sign up and start recruiting folks here to get details when it launches.

So, where does that leave us?

Let’s review:

  • We are headed for a series of GOP-led filibusters this month
  • Manchin’s terrible op-ed was intended to take the wind out of our sails
  • The only realistic pathway to victory on democracy reform is a drawn-out legislative fight
  • Victory depends on the full commitment of Biden and Schumer, and historic grassroots engagement

If this were easy, it would have been done already. If this were pre-ordained, we wouldn’t have to make it happen. If this were a lost cause, I wouldn’t be writing you this email. It’s not easy, it’s not pre-ordained, it’s not lost. That’s what makes what we do right now so important.

We’re living through historic times, so I’ll turn to some history to close us out. In 1964, it took overcoming a 54-day filibuster to pass the Civil Rights Act in the Senate. The next year it took more than a month after the Voting Rights Act started full senate debate to get past the threat of a filibuster. The Jim Crow filibuster, then as now, did not go down without a long, drawn-out fight.

The For the People Act has not even been scheduled for a full senate vote yet. There’s been no debate. There’s been no filibuster. This is all pre-negotiation posturing — Manchin’s effort to defuse the situation so he can continue playacting the role of a statesman. But Manchin doesn’t get to decide what happens next — we do. Click here to pledge to take action.

The real fight has not yet begun, but it’s coming, and we’re bringing it.

 


Sunday, June 6, 2021

Moral Monday : The Third Reconstruction

 




On Moral Monday, June 7, states will participate in coordinated and simultaneous press conferences outside over 50 local offices of members of the US House of Representatives to push lawmakers to embrace an agenda for a Third Reconstruction. State leaders will also announce plans to mobilize for the June 21, 2021 National Poor People's Assembly and launch to the Mass Moral March on Washington in June 2022. 

Join Us 

Sacramento/Roseville area schedule:   

June 7 at 10:30AM- Sacramento, CA- Doris Matsui’s congressional office, Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Suite 12-600, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Contact Faye Wilson Kennedy at: Fayek@springmail.com | 916 812-7429.
June 7 at 1:00PM Placer County-Roseville, CA: Tom McClintock’s congressional office, 2200A Douglas Blvd., Suite 240, Roseville, CA. Contact: Scott Warren at:  ScottW.usa@att.net | 916 960-3209.
June 7 at 3:00PM -Sacramento, CA -Ami Bera’s congressional office, 8950 Cal Center Dr #100, Sacramento, CA 95826 Contact: Mario Galvan at: mario@zsc.org|  916 224-4400.

 

Masks Required!!!

For more info please contact:

Faye Wilson Kennedy, Co-Chair, California Poor People’s Campaign

Fayek@springmail.com

 

Tuesday, June 1, 2021

Homeless Master Plan


CONTACT THE MAYOR & YOUR CITY COUNCILMEMBER AND TELL THEM YOU SUPPORT THE COMMUNITY HOMELESS MASTER PLAN

 

Sacramento Services Not Sweeps Coalition (SNS) COMMUNITY HOMELESS MASTER PLAN 5/18/2021 Presentation to Sacramento City Council

Presented by Bob Erlenbusch, SRCEH; Faye Wilson Kennedy, Poor People’s Campaign; Shelly Hubertus, Waking the Village and Angela Drake, UC Davis

 


 

For a copy of the full PowerPoint presentation please contact: Bob Erlenbusch at: bob@srceh.org or Faye Wilson Kennedy at: fayek@springmail.com.  

 

LINK to Sacramento City Council:

http://www.cityofsacramento.org/Mayor-Council

 

Thank You!!

 

 


UC-AFT Teaching Faculty Rally and Press Conference -- Contract Expiratio...

Friday, May 28, 2021

'It's the Filibuster or Democracy,' Say Progressives After GOP Tanks January 6 Commission

'It's the Filibuster or Democracy,' Say Progressives After GOP Tanks January 6 Commission


Bipartisan Illusions Dashed Again
As expected, Senate Republicans used the power of the filibuster to block consideration of the bill to create a bipartisan commission to investigate the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. The vote was 54-35 in favor, with six Republicans joining Democrats in support. In the real world, that’s a healthy majority. But in the U.S. Senate, it’s not enough to overcome a filibuster.

And if Republican senators, who were menaced right along with Democrats by the invasion, won’t display some bipartisanship on this one, we can forget bipartisan support for voting rights or infrastructure spending. The Republican offer to spend almost a trillion dollars on infrastructure, ostensibly meeting Biden more than halfway, is bogus. Most of this is money diverted from funds previously appropriated, such as relief for the states and unemployment compensation.

This latest Republican blockage comes on the heels of a high-profile speech by former House Speaker Paul Ryan, warning, "If the conservative cause depends on the populist appeal of one personality, or on second-rate imitations, then we’re not going anywhere." He added that voters would "not be impressed by the sight of yes-men and flatterers flocking to Mar-a-Lago."

Wednesday, May 26, 2021


 



Join Us 

Sacramento/Roseville area schedule:   

  1. June 7 at 10:30AM- Sacramento, CA- Doris Matsui’s congressional office, Robert T. Matsui United States Courthouse, 501 I Street, Suite 12-600, Sacramento, CA 95814.  Contact Faye Wilson Kennedy at: Fayek@springmail.com/916 812-7429
  2. June 7 at 1:00PM Placer County-Roseville, CA: Tom McClintock’s congressional office, 2200A Douglas Blvd., Suite 240, Roseville, CA. Contact: Scott Warren at:  ScottW.usa@att.net/916 960-3209/
  3. June 7 at 3:00PM -Sacramento, CA -Ami Bera’s congressional office, 8950 Cal Center Dr #100, Sacramento, CA 95826 Contact: Mario Galvan at: mario@zsc.org/916 224-4400


Sunday, May 23, 2021

Rev. Barber. The Third Reconstruction and the Common Good

 By William Barber II and Jonathan Wilson-Hartgrove

Dr. Barber is the president of Repairers of the Breach and a co-chair of the Poor People’s Campaign. Mr. Wilson-Hartgrove is the author of “Revolution of Values: Reclaiming Public Faith for the Common Good.”

May 23, 2021. New York Times. 

https://www.nytimes.com/2021/05/21/opinion/george-floyd-death-william-barber.html?

 

In Elizabeth City, N.C., the morning after a jury in Minneapolis found the former police officer Derek Chauvin guilty of the murder of George Floyd, a unit from the county’s Sheriff’s Department dressed in tactical gear arrived at the home of Andrew Brown Jr. They were there to serve drug-related arrest and search warrants.

Within minutes, 42-year-old Mr. Brown was dead, shot at the wheel of his car. He was hit by five bullets, including one shot to the back of his head. The North Carolina prosecutor in the case has called the shooting “justified.”

If George Floyd forced America to face the question of whether an officer who abuses power can be held accountable, Andrew Brown Jr.’s blood cries out from the ground of eastern North Carolina for deeper change. Justice demands systemic and enduring transformation — something that younger generations will see and trust as authentic. We call it the Third Reconstruction.

Consider our recent history, starting with Mr. Chauvin’s trial. For us, it brought back memories of the summer of 2013, when a jury in Florida found George Zimmerman not guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin. Mr. Zimmerman had shot and killed the 17-year-old boy who was guilty of nothing more than walking while Black in a gated community. Our legal system’s failure to hold Mr. Zimmerman accountable for killing Mr. Martin sparked the Black Lives Matter movement. It rallied a generation of young people who refused to accept white police officers regularly killing unarmed Black people, not unlike how white Americans regularly lynched Black Americans in the early 20th century.

And that moment — the rise of Black Lives Matter — in turn recalled the movement galvanized by the death of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago, who was murdered with impunity in Jim Crow Mississippi. The horror of his lynching inspired a generation of children who looked like Till to confront a system that denigrated their Black lives and undermined democracy. Over the next decade and a half, they grew up to be the college students and young adults who led sit-ins at lunch counters, organized Freedom Summer in Mississippi, petitioned their fellow Americans to see voting rights as a moral issue at Selma and built a Rainbow Coalition in Chicago to advocate the dignity of all poor people.

The reckoning that Emmett Till’s generation demanded took time — and it was subverted and sabotaged at every turn. But the young people who saw themselves in Till eventually contributed to a Second Reconstruction of America in the mid-20th century, expanding democracy and pushing the nation toward the promise of a government that would represent all of its citizens.

 

Now the Trayvon Martin generation has come of age and is pushing the nation toward a Third Reconstruction. The death of Mr. Floyd, along with those of Breonna Taylor and so many more who’ve joined the litany of lives taken, marked a turning point in the movement: His cries of “I can’t breathe” united this generation in a collective gasp for justice.

But what does that justice look like? Accountability for Mr. Floyd’s murder is not justice. If we cannot stop the killings of unarmed Black people before they happen, any collective affirmation of Black life rings hollow.

As hard as it may be to achieve, the Third Reconstruction is about more than Black people surviving encounters with law enforcement. It’s about America taking steps to protect and value its Black citizens as it has never done before. A Third Reconstruction is about ensuring Black Americans are no longer twice as likely as white Americans to die in a pandemic. It’s about remaking a system that saddles them with student debt and then offers them poverty wages.

A Third Reconstruction will ensure that all Americans can access decent housing for their families and quality education for their children, as outlined in a resolution introduced Thursday by Representatives Barbara Lee and Pramila Jayapal, and supported by our organization, the Poor People’s Campaign. Their resolution seeks to ensure all Americans access to clean and unleaded waterand, in the face of widespread voter suppression efforts, a guarantee that their participation in American democracy is expanded and protected.

The Third Reconstruction is about confronting policies and practices that produce death, whether from police killings, poverty, lack of health care, ecological devastation or unnecessary war. It is, in short, a declaration that unnecessary death is intolerable and that democracy is still possible.

In 2020, following a summer of Black Lives Matter protests, we witnessed the most votes cast in a federal election in U.S. history, with a higher percentage of eligible voters participating than we’d seen in decades, and maybe even more than a century. From the Fight for $15 to the Sunrise Movement to the Poor People’s Campaign, this generation has linked up with movements to connect systemic racism in policing with systemic racism in economic inequality, ecological degradation, health disparities and voter suppression. In our work with the Poor People’s Campaign, we saw thousands of Black, white and brown Americans reach out to millions of poor and low-income neighbors like them, encouraging them to join a movement that votes for a transformative agenda in our public life.

 

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Right Wing Militia in Redding

 By 

|
May 19, 2021 2:33 p.m. 

A right-wing effort to oust several county supervisors in Shasta County, California has devolved into threats, fist fights, and… overly sentimental documentary filmmaking? 

The Los Angeles Times had the story Wednesday of the tumultuous scene in Redding, California, the largest city in Shasta County and the scene of months of simmering tensions over state public health orders. 

The angst has taken the form of an effort to recall three county commissioners who supported COVID-19 restrictions. But it has taken more violent forms as well.

Most recently, supporters of the recall effort are accused of accosting one a local gadfly — a comic who’s skewered the recall online.

“They’re all just bullies, you know,” the comic, Nathan Pinkney, told the Times of his aggressors. “They’re all so sensitive and volatile.” 

Pinkney’s main foe, and the focus of the Times’ report, is a local man and militia group member named Carlos Zapata. Zapata (pictured above) is accused of throwing a drink at Pinkney on May 5 after spotting him at a restaurant where Pinkney worked in Redding. Later that night, police say, an acquaintance of Zapata’s punched Pinkney and held a large CO2 bottle at him in a “threatening manner” before leaving the area. 

Zapata denied to the Times that he personally laid a hand on Pinkney, and said that as a bar owner, he saw fights “eight times a night” that didn’t make the news.

Tuesday, May 4, 2021

Choosing Democracy: Sacramento City USD Fails English Learners

Choosing Democracy: Sacramento City USD Fails English Learners:  The Education Committee of LULAC/Sacramento has recommended for over 4 years that the funds allocated to Sacramento City Unified School Dis...

Thursday, April 29, 2021

May Day: Immigrants Rights


 

 National Day of Action for Immigrant Rights

Sat May 1 throughout California | details
On International Workers Day and Immigrant Rights Day, we recognize and celebrate workers and their right to organize. This May Day also concludes the first 100 days of Biden’s administration. In the next 100 days, the President and the Congress will decide whether to create the pathway to citizenship for the approximately 10 million undocumented people who call this country home.

At this week’s Moral Monday, viewers were urged to attend Movimiento Cosecha’s May Day Action in Washington DC, where activists and allies will demand sweeping immigration reform. We Californians can show our support at actions taking place across the state. Find a May Day event near you.


Friday, April 23, 2021

Tucker Carlson's immigration bait-and-switch betrays his desperation

 

Tucker Carlson's immigration bait-and-switch betrays his desperation 

No one denies that immigration brings change, Tucker — just that it's racist to be angry about it

By AMANDA MARCOTTE
APRIL 22, 2021 4:39PM (UTC)

 

Fox News host Tucker Carlson is really determined to sell his audience on what is — and this cannot be stressed enough — a literal neo-Nazi conspiracy theory. Neo-Nazis and other white nationalist groups have long pushed the idea that a shadowy cabal of Jews is secretly conspiring to "remake" America and "steal" it from its rightful owners, white Christians. They are supposedly doing this by "importing" non-white people — who neo-Nazis believe to be mentally inferior and therefore easily controlled by the shadowy Jewish conspiracy — into the U.S. 

Carlson's only spin is replacing the word "Jews" with "Democrats," but other than that, he's lifting "replacement theory" wholesale from the neo-Nazi dregs of the internet and now is repackaging this ridiculous conspiracy theory as if it were an inarguable fact, much to the delight of white nationalists. And because Carlson's main modus operandi is trolling, he's relishing the negative attention he gets by hyping a racist conspiracy theory and he's using his audience's love of liberal-triggering to encourage them to mindlessly burrow deeper into the worldview of unapologetic fascists. 

Carlson is a moral monster. It's likely he has been this way since his high school "Dan White Society" days. Sadly, he is a monster that must be dealt with, despite the unfortunate risk of troll-feeding. It's not just because Carlson has an audience that regularly tops 3 million viewers, though that alone is terrifying. It's that he is a smart man whose strategy for selling this conspiracy theory is sinister and clever. To fight back, it's crucial that progressives don't fall into the trap he is setting. 

Basically, Carlson is pulling off two bait-and-switch routines. First, he falsely conflates any cultural change with his ridiculous "replacement" conspiracy theory. Second, he tries to paint the debate as one over whether change is real — something that literally no one contests — so as to avoid talking about the real issue, which is how it's nuclear-level racist to react to cultural change like it's some kind of existential threat. In reality, it's just what happens if you're lucky to live long enough to experience it. 

Both tactics were on full display on Wednesday night, when Carlson took a break from trying to martyrize Derek Chauvin to once again promote "replacement theory" by bashing Rep. Ted Lieu, D-Calif., who was born in Taiwan but grew up in Ohio. Lieu was angry at Rep. Scott Perry, R-Penn., for parroting the "replacement theory," and retorted on Twitter. "And with every passing year, there will be more people who look like me in the US. You can't stop it. So take your racist replacement theory and shove it."

Carlson treated this tweet like it was some inadvertent confession that "replacement" conspiracy theory is real. 

"In other words, you're being replaced, and there's nothing you can do about it, so shut up," he shouted with what can only be described as a maniacal laugh. 

Here's the thing, though: Lieu didn't give any game away. Liberals have neverdenied that immigration changes society. Of course it does, along with generational shifts, changing fashions, and evolving social norms. When I was young, people wore low-rise jeans and MTV still played music videos. Now it's skinny jeans (though apparently not for long) and TikTok. Change is inevitable, and generally good, as anyone who has a memory of hair-destroying styling products in the bad old days can attest. 

What makes "replacement" a conspiracy theory, however, is that it invents this elaborate fantasy ascribing change not to the normal churn of human society, but to a sinister and hidden conspiracy of Jews and Democrats who are secretly inflicting change to pull off some grand scheme. 


That is, of course dumb. It's like "neo-Nazi message board" levels of dumb. Carlson deflects attention from that by pretending that we're debating the factual assertion "change is real," and lashing out at straw-liberals who, though only in his imagination, are pretending it's not. 

More importantly, Carlson is propping up this fake debate so that he can smuggle in his real argument, which is that change is bad.

Carlson's whole gambit depends on the presumption that change is a terrible thing. But that belief is both delusional and, on the subject of immigration, racist. As Adam Serwer of The Atlantic recently wrote, the same kinds of arguments were made "at the turn of the 20th century" to argue that "Polish, Russian, Greek, Italian, and Jewish" immigrants "posed a danger." Carlson's hysterics make about as much sense as some man in the 1920s arguing that the bagel is the downfall of American civilization. 

Lieu's point actual point was, of course, that people like him are a valuable addition to the American community, and we should welcome the changes immigration brings. Carlson knows that he can't win that argument, especially when reminded of how idiotic such arguments from the past look to modern eyes. As Sewer notes, the Tucker Carlsons of the 1930s were so racist and paranoid that even Nazis rejected some of their ideas as "a bit too strict." So instead, Carlson raves about secret conspiracies and pretends that liberals are hiding something. It's pure projection, of course. The only people hiding anything are Carlson and his allies, who are hiding their true motivation: naked racism. 

The "replacement" and "change" language feeds on the very human fear of mortality that is especially powerful with the largely elderly Fox News audience. As Heather "Digby" Parton wrote last week for Salon, "The fact is that we are all going to be 'replaced' by the generations that come up behind us." Change is often terrifying because it's a reminder that time is passing by and that the grave awaits us all. For many people, it's easier to let this sour-faced, middle-aged prep school brat lash out at immigrants than grapple with their fears of change and death. Carlson is a cynical demagogue, no doubt, and that's why he's a dangerous one. 



AMANDA MARCOTTE

Amanda Marcotte is a senior politics writer at Salon and the author of "Troll Nation: How The Right Became Trump-Worshipping Monsters Set On Rat-F*cking Liberals, America, and Truth Itself." Follow her on Twitter @AmandaMarcotte and sign up for her biweekly politics newsletter, Standing Room Only.

MORE FROM AMANDA MARCOTTE • FOLLOW AMANDAMARCOTTE