At Spiked where he is Chief Political Writer, Brendan O'Neill does an interesting job of describing the Tucker Carlson phenomenon. His emphasis is on why Carlson was so hated and feared by progressives.
It strikes me that liberal Tuckerphobia is part fear, part envy. (snip) Deep down they recognise that this preppy dude who they mock for his ‘incredulous stare’ and ‘slack-jawed expression’ is able to do something they can no longer do and will never be able to do again: connect with ordinary people.
One of the Carlson peculiarities was that he wasn't consistently on the right.
Ross Douthat has a good explanation for this political schizophrenia, for the fact that Carlson’s TV show was ‘the farthest right on cable news but also sometimes the farthest left’. (snip) That’s because his driver was not ideology, but suspicion. Suspicion towards ‘any idea with an establishment imprimatur’, Douthat says. Extreme wariness towards elite dogma was Carlson’s stock-in-trade.
Viewers liked it. And that’s because they were looking for someone, anyone, reasoned or not, leftish or rightish, to stick it to an elite which for decades has been treating them with the most extraordinary derision. There’s no point moaning about Carlson’s forays into weirdthink, because it was his style rather than his substance, his nightly fuck-you to those people, that drew in the deplorables who are so tired of being defamed by the powerful.
Carlson’s ‘power’ among the white working class is directly proportional to the elites’ visceral derision for the white working class. Dehumanise people for long enough and they’ll look high and low for someone who treats them as human.
Which is exactly the same 'power' Donald Trump had campaigning for the 2016 election. He could connect with ordinary non-elite Americans, of all colors as it turned out, and they liked it a lot.
N.B., I rarely watched Carlson, his delivery is too strident for my taste.