Vittert: Carlson calling Pennsylvania voters dumb is stupid

On Balance with Leland Vittert

(NewsNation) — Few things are more arrogant, and frankly stupider, than telling voters they’re dumb.

While that might sound obvious, it’s not to Republican elites. Tucker Carlson told blue collar workers in Pennsylvania exactly that: You are stupid for electing John Fetterman to the United States Senate over Mehmet Oz. Never mind that Oz is a former TV doctor who actually lived in New Jersey.

“John Fetterman became a U.S. senator last night. Does anyone think John Fetterman was a quality candidate?” Carlson said on his show. “Is that why he won? … (Do) the voters of Pennsylvania really want a brain-damaged candidate who’s never had a real job? Do they think he was more impressive than the guy who spent his career doing heart transplants? Probably not.”

Yeah, they did. We as journalists report the facts. Telling people they’re stupid, don’t get it and don’t know what is good for them is a lot like, oh I don’t know, Barack Obama calling some Republicans bitter people who cling to their guns and religion. Or like Hillary Clinton, who called Trump supporters deplorables.

There is something you never thought you’d see, Hillary, Obama and Tucker. They all have the same disdain for working-class Americans.

Ironically, they were all talking about the same folks, Western Pennsylvania rural whites. It’s coal and steel country, where it’s tough to earn a dollar. They’ve been left behind.

And across the board, they voted for Fetterman by about three or five points more than they voted for Joe Biden. In some places, take Erie County for example, they voted for Fetterman by a bigger percentage than they voted for Trump. That wasn’t true in Venango County. The average income in Venango County is $27,000 a year; it’s 96.6% white. But still, Fetterman beat Biden’s numbers by four points. That’s huge.

What could possibly explain that? It’s simple really.

Voters aren’t stupid. They are incredibly smart and intuitive. In a shocking turn of events, they believed a man wearing a hoodie cared about them more than a slick TV host.

Venango County is a beautiful place. With the average income at $27,000 a year, who do you think relates to you more? Who cares about you? There are a lot of people in Venango County who feel knocked down. Take, for example, Katy Tur from MSNBC talking about Fetterman’s win:

Some variables? That’s one way to put it. Unable to articulate basic policy positions is another, but in a strictly political sense that doesn’t matter. She’s right when she says, “what he did in the super red, deep red parts of Pennsylvania, and the way that he ran ahead of Biden, ran ahead of Trump, and it just makes you wonder about his future.”

Here’s Tucker articulating the general Republican consensus:

“Not only did John Fetterman win, but he won without speaking a single, coherent sentence for the entire campaign. Now you may have been appalled by that, but in some sense, it’s an achievement. John Fetterman in winning shattered the thickest of all glass ceilings, which has for centuries prevented the unapologetically brain damaged from winning statewide election.”

Sure, it’s mean and mean spirited, but it’s true, Fetterman has real issues, and the voters didn’t care, that’s the real issue. More importantly, what Carlson just said should make Republicans wonder why they nominated a candidate who lost to someone so clearly flawed.

Why did the voters of Pennsylvania pick a man who has trouble articulating basic thoughts over a telegenic heart doctor?

It’s simple. They believe Fetterman cared about them. I make no apologies for Fetterman; in fact, the liberal media trashed me for my assessment immediately following the debate.

That was the biggest issue of the debate, but in the end, it didn’t matter. Here is Carlson once again talking about the reasons for Republicans’ very disappointing Tuesday night.

“Strictly speaking, winning isn’t everything, it’s the only thing.” I am pretty sure a football coach once said that. It’s true in football; when you lose, it’s pretty weak sauce to blame the refs and the fans and the weather.

And in politics, it’s pretty weak to blame the voters. Nobody knows that better than Donald Trump. He broke the blue wall and won Pennsylvania for Republicans for the first time since 1988. Trump did it by convincing people in Venango County he cared about them.

Trump is a billionaire from New York who flew to the state on his private 757, and spent one speech talking about using hair spray. It’s hard to be more out of touch than that but people believed he cared. It’s not whether he actually did or was just using them for political gain, but blue collar coal workers believed he cared.

Those same people heard the same talking points from Mehmet Oz and they didn’t believe him.

It’s that simple. Voters are smart. Explaining away your losses by calling them stupid says a lot more about you than it does about them.

The views expressed in this article are those of the author, and not of NewsNation.

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