The Fox News host is moving to seize not only the former president's political mantle, but his theatrical mantle as well, says Frank Bruni. "Moving to fill the empty space created by Trump’s ejection from the White House, his banishment from social media and his petulant quasi-hibernation, Carlson is triggering the libs like Trump triggered the libs," says Bruni. "He’s animating the pundits like Trump animated the pundits." Bruni adds: "Like Trump, he has decided that virality is its own reward. And he’s being amply rewarded, as exemplified in this very column. I’d prefer to ignore him, but I face the same irreconcilable considerations that all the others who aren’t ignoring him do. To give him attention is to play into his hands, but to do the opposite is to play ostrich. In April, his 8 p.m. Eastern show drew an average nightly audience of about three million viewers. That made him the most-watched of any cable news host — ahead of Sean Hannity, ahead of Rachel Maddow — and it meant that he was both capturing and coloring how many Americans felt about current events. His outbursts, no matter how ugly, are relevant. Remind you of anyone now clomping through the sand traps near Mar-a-Loco? The amount of real estate that Carlson occupies in political newsletters that I subscribe to seems to have grown in proportion to the amount that Trump has lost. (That’s my own replacement theory.) And it proves that we need not just villains but also certain <i>kinds of villains: ones whose unabashed smugness, unfettered cruelty and undisguised sense of superiority allow us to return fire unsparingly and work out our own rage. Carlson, again like Trump, is cathartic." ALSO: Fox News staffers laugh at calls to fire Tucker Carlson because he's "invincible."