On Wednesday night, Daily Wire Editor-in-Chief Ben Shapiro and Tucker Carlson discussed the implosion of former Congressman Beto O’Rourke’s presidential campaign and the failure of any of the leading Democratic Party presidential candidates to buck the prevailing hard-left tilt of their party, and they had a grand time doing it, with plenty of laughter.
Before their discussion, Carlson set the tone for the laughter to follow, sending up O’Rourke, who had given a massively egocentric answer when questioned about the little he gives to charity by essentially saying his giving was exemplified by his own candidacy. Carlson joked that O’Rourke was such a good person that he could write himself off his taxes if he wanted to, quipping, “The IRS would have to let him; his goodness is so clearly deductible. No lawyer would contest that. But Beto doesn’t do that; he doesn't shirk his duty. He’ll pay the extra tax because he cares that much. Now that you think about it, it’s almost sad he’ll never be president.”
Carlson then introduced Shapiro, who said, “I don’t know how I kept a straight face while you did that,” prompting Carlson to reply, “I don’t know how I did,” leaving them both laughing.
After they stopped laughing, Carlson got serious, commenting, “There are so many levels here but I do believe that this is the end of the Beto O’Rourke phenomenon.”
Shapiro responded, “Yeah, I think he’s toast.”
Carlson asked, “What are the lessons that we should draw from what we just saw?”
Shapiro answered, “I think that you can run in the moderate lane as the Bobby Kennedy candidate as long as there’s not anything newer on the block. Buttigieg came along and drank his milkshake and he had some intersectional credibility. The problem for Beto is that he happened to be straight and also white, just like Bobby Kennedy was; Buttigieg is gay, therefore he takes precedence, also he speaks more languages like Norwegian which is a language that is very much in vogue with the media these days.”
Carlson started laughing.
Shapiro continued, “And he doesn’t just play guitar, he also plays piano and he does it with Ben Folds 5 and the whole deal. So, Buttigieg has basically stolen all of his momentum, and I think you’re right, I think Beto is toast here.”
Carlson commented, “Speaking Norwegian and playing the piano, and I’m being sincere, are actually impressive things to do for sure, and I’m impressed by them, but they’re not really policy prescriptions, they’re not ideas that are going to improve America, neither is who you sleep with relevant to running the country as far as I can tell, or any of these criteria meaningful, so where’s the part that we get to debate their ideas for the country?”
Well the problem is, obviously, that there’s only one thought leader in the Democratic Party right now and that’s Bernie Sanders. And what you’re seeing is a bunch of candidates who are attempting to steer into the Bernie Sanders lane. And there’s no room in that lane. Bernie Sanders has occupied that entire lane. You talk about ideas candidates – the one candidate who keeps shouting ideas from the rooftops is of course, our native American candidate, Elizabeth Warren, who keeps spouting ideas every five minutes, “Here’s a new policy prescription. Why isn’t anyone paying attention to me.” And the answer is because you are in Bernie Sanders’ lane. He is the thought leader in this lane.
Well, in the moderate lane, there are no thought leaders – there are just a bunch of people with platitudes. Biden is presumably the thought leader, but Joe Biden doesn’t have enough thoughts to be a thought leader, so who, exactly, is going to come along and occupy that lane while still being able to win over the woke intersectional base of the Democratic Party? Whoever does that, has a possibility at the nomination. Right now Buttigieg can do that only insofar as he can speak the platitudes that sound moderate, but when he’s actually pegged down, as you’ve noted, he’s just as far left as Bernie Sanders is on all of the issues.
Carlson agreed: Here’s a guy whose telling us what a great Christian he is who’s for abortion up until birth? And for sex selection? Spare me your Christian talk, please. It’s absurd. I’m just struck though by Bernie could be the one guy — I mean I want to have a conversation about ideas ‘cuz I think it’s important, and clearly we need to make some changes with the way the country’s going — but Bernie doesn’t seem to be an ideas candidate when you listen to him, he almost never says anything — unlike Elizabeth Warren, he never says anything interesting. Why is that?
Shapiro: I think that his ideas are so radical, but they are consistent, and so everybody has followed him out to the fringe.
Shapiro: So, he can shout Medicare for All, and what you’ll see is every Democrat then pay homage to Medicare for All, footnote: we don’t really want Medicare for all, we want sort of a gradualistic plan that may achieve Medicare for All sometime in the future —
Shapiro: — but everybody is trying to imitate Bernie. Bernie is the guy who is really running this race. Bernie’s almost in a position right now that Trump was in in 2016, where everybody in the Democratic Party who’s running is afraid to tick him off because they hope that eventually he’ll collapse and they’ll get his support, but he’s riding at 25 – 30% in virtually all of the polls. That support is extraordinarily durable; I don’t think that it’s going anywhere, and so he can steer that lane. He can win Iowa; he can win New Hampshire; he could do well in California and New York. There’s a reason that Democrats are running scared of Bernie, and what is puzzling to me is that they are so interested in what the journalists on Twitter say, this kind of echo chamber in the media say, but they won’t just go to where the mainstream of their own party is, which is the moderate area, right? Joe Biden is a terrible candidate — he’s actually leading in most of these polls (Carlson laughs) because he is perceived as a moderate.
Carlson: Totally true.
Shapiro: But that was true of Beto and Buttigieg, by the way, the reason that both of them were doing well for a moment there was because they are both perceived as moderate with all of the platitudes and then when you get down to policy, it turns out that they want to be more like Bernie than like Biden. Nobody in the Democratic Party actually has the stones to run as moderate inside the Democratic Party, even though it’s probably the best possible way for them to win the nomination.
Carlson: I think you’re absolutely right and your diagnosis is that they are captive of social media and that’s why.
Shapiro: I think they’re captive of social media. I think that they’re captive of the intersectional woke base. I think that they are afraid that they going to be held hostage to the dictates of The New York Times editorial board and people suggesting that they’re not woke enough if they don’t pay homage to the latest flavor, slavery reparations, or whatever it is today.
Carlson: I think the person who gives the finger to that mob, gets the support of millions.
Shapiro: I think that’s right, and then has a good shot in the general.
Shapiro: But I don’t any of them have the actual stones to do it.
Carlson: They’d probably get my support. I mean if someone were to stand up and say, “You know what, I’m not taking orders from you. How does that sound?” I almost don’t even care what the person is for, I’d probably vote for them because I’m so desperate for that.
Shapiro: That is why, if a Democrat were actually able to do that, they would win sweeping support, but they can’t do that. But we’ve been saying this for years: All you have to do is not be crazy, and they can’t stop themselves. They just can’t.
Carlson, laughing: So good.