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Tucker Carlson: A Bow Tie-Wearing Democrat Before He Backed Trump

Tucker Carlson
Tucker Carlson speaking with attendees at the 2018 Student Action Summit hosted by Turning Point USA at the Palm Beach County Convention Center in West Palm Beach, Florida. By Gage Skidmore.

Tucker Carlson Was a Bow Tie-Wearing Democrat Before he Backed Trumpism – The late, great Winston Churchill famously described Russia as “a riddle, wrapped in a mystery, inside an enigma,” and further suggested it was an inscrutable and menacing land that plays by its own rules. In many ways, much of the above could also describe Fox News Channel’s Tucker Carlson – a man who is an outspoken critic of President Joe Biden, but who privately admitted that he had a deep hatred of former President Donald Trump.

He’s recently aired selective footage of the January 6, 2021, Capitol Riot to somehow set the record straight.

Carlson has also been accused of supporting Vladimir Putin while questioning U.S. support for Ukraine.

He’s presented himself as an opponent of the liberal agenda in America but for decades was a registered Democrat. In fact, he stopped wearing bowties – once his signature – decades before he changed parties.

Tucker Carlson: Liberal Views

He may also be one of the faces of the Fox News Channel’s primetime lineup, but there was also a time when he was a host on MSNBC.

In fact, Carlson’s first prime-time “gig” was with CNN from 2000-2005, then on PBS from 2004-2005, then with a stint at MSNBC from 2005 to 2008. 

He’s been at Fox News since then – and it isn’t just his ties that have changed. 

Carlson’s even previously claimed that many of his views are “liberal,” a point that might surprise some of his critics and faithful viewers alike.

However, he has previously admitted to stating, “I believe in free speech. I’m suspicious of secrecy. I think that due process is vital; you know, I don’t think that everyone accused is guilty. I think I have much more in common with 1970s-era liberals than most people at The Washington Post.”

Yes, a Democrat

As for being a registered Democrat, he’s explained that away by suggesting he did so as he resides in Washington, D.C., and wanted to vote in the primaries for mayoral elections.

Though he claimed to have supported Republicans and Republican-affiliated causes, he also expressed disappointment with President George W. Bush and opted not to cast any ballot in the 2004 election.

He’s gone on record to share his disappointment with the Republican nominee for the 2012 election, Mitt Romney.

His lack of enthusiasm for Bush and Romney does bring into question whether Tucker Carlson could be called a Republican at all.

Since 2016, he had been among Trump’s biggest supporters – yet after the 2020 election, privately spoke out and even suggested a hatred for Trump.

Change of Views?

People’s views can change – and often do – as they get older.

There is no denying that the 9/11 attacks may have changed the political opinions of many Americans, just as the 2003 invasion of Iraq likely changed the minds of others. 

Carlson is clearly someone who has evolved when it comes to his political views – and that should all be fine.

The issue in his case is that it is entirely unclear what he actually believes and how much of it is an act to draw in viewers.

Carlson the Character?

The Late Show host Stephen Colbert had infamously played a character that was completely distinct from his own views on his satirical Comedy Central series, while stand-up comedian and actor Andrew “Dice” Clay has maintained that his crude and vulgar routine was really an “act.” The same could be true of Carlson, who often seems to go out of his way to present extreme views that draw in an audience.

The difference is that with Colbert and Clay, the audience was usually laughing with them, and in Carlson’s case we must wonder if he’s not the one laughing at the audience.

Tucker Carlson is also arguably an accidental star. 

As noted, he had bounced around the cable new networks but was never the first name to be mentioned in a prime time line-up.

In fact, until Fox News Channel’s Megyn Kelly defected to NBC in early 2017, “Tucker Carlson Tonight” was broadcast in the 7pm hour – not quite prime time. He was at best a second-tier host.

After being moved to prime time, he became a star, and as The New Yorker noted soon after, “In many ways, Carlson is a throwback, and a contradiction: a fierce critic of the political and cultural establishment who is also, unapologetically, a member of it.”

A one-time Democrat and prep school rich kid, who now claims to have the interest of blue-collar workers, Carlson is a riddle wrapped in an enigma. 

Maybe we should be laughing with him.

Author Experience and Expertise

A Senior Editor for 19FortyFive, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer. He has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,200 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, politics, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes and Clearance Jobs. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.

Written By

Expert Biography: A Senior Editor for 1945, Peter Suciu is a Michigan-based writer who has contributed to more than four dozen magazines, newspapers, and websites with over 3,000 published pieces over a twenty-year career in journalism. He regularly writes about military hardware, firearms history, cybersecurity, and international affairs. Peter is also a Contributing Writer for Forbes. You can follow him on Twitter: @PeterSuciu.



  1. Chris Kane

    March 15, 2023 at 2:18 pm

    Carlson’s “selective footage of the January 6, 2021 Capitol Riot” did indeed set at least some of the record straight. The very partisan January 6th congressional House Select Committee, of course, did exactly the same thing, didn’t it?

    I guess it all depends on which side of the slice your bread is buttered on. Yet, the USS House Select Committee’s ship is presently listing dangerously to port. Throwing Carlson overboard is essential to getting the pumps started. Only, me thinks it’s too late.

    But, yeah. No sense in recognizing a different reality. Reality, of course, is just a subjective perception.

  2. Andrew M Winter

    March 23, 2023 at 1:35 pm

    JIMMINY CRICKET. Trump was Democrat until the beginning of this century. Went Independent, stayed there a while and didn’t register as republican until a couple of years before he ran.

    What’s the Big Deal? Reagan was a Democrat at first. His comment was, ” I didn’t leave the Democrat Party. The Party Left ME.”

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