After following the 2016 presidential campaign trail for seven months, Tucker Carlson, co-host of FOX and Friends Weekend and editor-in-chief of The Daily Caller, announced to a room full of surgeons and healthcare professionals: "It's almost bewildering to be in a room full of normal people. It is so nice."
Mr. Carlson delivered a keynote speech titled, "Today's Political Landscape and What is Ahead in the 2016 Race for the White House," at Becker's 14th Annual Spine, Orthopedic and Pain Management-Driven ASC Conference + The Future of Spine in Chicago.
"You factor your emotions out of it, and you ask yourself, 'Who is the obvious president here?'" said Mr. Carlson. "And 100 percent of the time that has worked for me…This year, totally opaque. I wouldn't put a dollar on this election."
Mr. Carlson proceeded to comment on various factors influencing this race to the presidential nomination, and how the country found itself in a Donald Trump versus Hillary Clinton duel.
"The themes of the election will help us understand where the country is moving, and that is meaningful for all of us, no matter what business we're in," he said.
Normally, Mr. Trump would be the victor, said Mr. Carlson. Many Americans seek change and view "more of the same" unfavorably. In that mindset, Ms. Clinton won't win, running as a third term of the incumbent president. "She represents more of the same, Trump represents change — he wins," said Mr. Carlson. "That simple."
Mr. Trump would win if he focuses his campaign around middle class economic anxiety, but he instead, will most likely "turn the conversation to areas that help his opponent," said Mr. Carlson.
"You have a candidate with a remarkable instinct for what people care about, but who simultaneously is emotionally incompetent," Mr. Carlson said of Mr. Trump. "And therefore finds it almost impossible to stick to what is really a winning script." People don't like unpredictability and that's exactly what Mr. Trump has to offer, which is why Mr. Carlson doesn't know how this election will unfold.
Both the Republican and Democratic parties forgot to pay attention to their voters' beliefs. Mr. Carlson commented this is shocking, as "political parties exist only to keep track of what their voters believe."
This is seen in Sen. Bernie Sanders' campaign, which Mr. Carlson said completely changed the Democratic Party — "Bernie lost the race, but he won the argument." When Sen. Sanders discussed an issue, Ms. Clinton moved to his position, he said.
At every rally, Sen. Sanders asked the crowd if their premiums increased under the Affordable Care Act. "That wasn't a left-wing point, that was a reality-based point," said Mr. Carlson. Sen. Sanders ran against the establishment, and captivated Americans' legitimate concerns, such as wages.
On the Republican side, the average person sees entitlement reform — cuts to social security and Medicare, for example — as a threat to their wellbeing. "They see rich people taking away the one thing that separates them from poverty," said Mr. Carlson.
Additionally, the average person doesn't want a lot of social change all at once: "People are not hardwired to deal with change at the volume that we've experienced it in the United States in the past 40 years," said Mr. Carlson.
Affluent people often view social change favorably, because they are "insulated from the downside of massive social change." Rich people are not impacted by immigration and demographic change like lower wage earners are, and the political party leaders have not acknowledged that, said Mr. Carlson.
Value decreases when there is overabundance, which directly impacts lower class wage earners. Mr. Carlson argued when people bring up economic concerns related to issues like immigration, leaders from both political parties shut them down.
"What happens when you tell people that their sincere, heartfelt concerns, rooted in facts, are illegitimate and indeed, evidence that they are immoral?" asked Mr. Carlson. "Those concerns go subterranean, where they fester, and then they reemerge of course, in the form of Donald Trump."
Mr. Trump gained a foothold among ordinary people who felt they weren't allowed to say what they think, added Mr. Carlson. If Americans aren't allowed to describe their problems, the country can't solve them. "Trump is a reaction, in part, to the inability of ordinary people of goodwill to express what they really think," said Mr. Carlson.
This stifling moment in which the country finds itself would be acceptable if the United States wasn't a democracy. But, a democracy fosters people with high expectations who expect to have a voice.
"The goal ought to be a kind of much less exciting, much less consequential politics," said Mr. Carlson. "Countries with exciting politics tend to be unhappy places…You want a series of politicians so boring and forgettable that you can't recall their names."
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