On Tuesday night, Fox News host Bill O’Reilly embraced white nationalism, criticizing minorities and liberals for trying to strip power from “the white establishment.”
“The left wants power taken away from the white establishment,” O’Reilly said, “They want a profound change in the way America is run. Taking power away from the white precincts is the quickest way to do that.”
O’Reilly was reacting to renewed criticism of the Electoral College after Donald Trump was officially enshrined as president-elect. Trump won the Electoral College vote on Monday despite losing the popular vote to Hillary Clinton by 2.9 million votes. Clinton received 48.2 percent of the votes, compared to 46.1 percent for Trump.
The Founding Fathers created the Electoral College in part to ensure slave states could maintain power in the new union. That rationale is antiquated, but the continued existence of the Electoral College allowed a candidate like Trump — who himself called the Electoral College “a disaster for democracy” four years ago — to avoid urban areas and focus his campaign on contested swing states that for the most part feature whiter, more rural populations.
O’Reilly made it clear that he takes issue with anybody who wants to change that system.
“Newspapers like the New York Times and LA Times have editorialized to get rid of the Electoral College,” O’Reilly said. “They well know that neutralizing the largely white, rural areas in the Midwest and South will assure liberal politicians get power and keep it… the left sees white privilege as an oppressive force that must be done away with.”
O’Reilly asserted that liberals are obsessed with the notion that “white men have set up a system of oppression [and] that system must be destroyed,” and their criticism of the Electoral College is just another manifestation of that.
“Bernie Sanders pedaled that, to some extent Hillary Clinton did, and the liberal media tries to sell that all day long,” O’Reilly said. “So-called white privilege bad. Diversity good… white men have largely abandoned the Democrats and the left believes it’s because of racism, that they want to punish minorities, keep them down. So that’s what’s really going on when you hear about the Electoral College and how unfair it allegedly is.”
O’Reilly’s comments come on the heels of a presidential election that legitimized white nationalism with Trump’s Electoral College victory.
Steve Bannon, the former Breitbart head who served as Trump’s campaign CEO and is now poised to become his chief White House strategist, reportedly discussed his beliefs about the genetic superiority of certain of people with his colleagues. Trump’s attorney general nomination, Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-AL), has referred to the 1965 Voting Rights Act as a “piece of intrusive legislation” and reportedly suggested that a white lawyer might be a “disgrace to his race” because he represented black clients. Trump’s choice for national security advisor, retired Lt. Gen. Michael Flynn, tweeted earlier this year that fear of Muslims is “RATIONAL” (emphasis his) and that “Arab & Persian world ‘leaders’” must renounce “Islamic ideology.”
Trump’s victory was applauded by former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke, who tweeted that he’s optimistic the people Trump is surrounding himself means “Americans are on the way to taking back our government.”
Bannon, Flynn & Sessions — Americans are on the way to taking back our government, our nation and our children's future! #TakeItBack
— David Duke (@DrDavidDuke) November 18, 2016
Last night wasn’t the first time O’Reilly has defended white privilege. On election night 2012, O’Reilly explained Romney’s loss by citing changing demographics he characterized as resulting in “50 percent of the voting public who want stuff, they want things.” He made a case that white men are the only group of people who don’t feel entitled to government handouts.
“And who is going to give them things? President Obama,” O’Reilly said. “The white establishment is now the minority. And the voters, many of them, feel the economic system is stacked against them, and they want stuff.”
“You’re going to see a tremendous Hispanic vote for President Obama, overwhelming black vote for President Obama, and women will probably break President Obama’s way,” he continued. “People feel that they are entitled to things, and which candidate, between the two, is going to give them things.”
During a discussion with Megyn Kelly about the killing of Michael Brown two years later, O’Reilly blamed black people for the fact they experience more poverty and higher incarceration rates, among other disparities.
“It all comes down to families, culture, personal responsibility, all of these things, which we don’t hear much about,” O’Reilly said. “And this is what drives the poverty.”
“Nothing will get better in this country until the culture changes, and the culture is, ‘You can do it, and here’s what you have to do in order to succeed,’” he added. “And if that doesn’t change, government and white people can’t change it.”
While racial disparities for the most part decreased during President Obama’s eight years in office, the latest census data indicates black Americans receive less education than whites, have twice as much unemployment, and experience poverty rates nearly three times the level as whites.