The Racist ‘Theory’ That Inspired Murderers Is Now GOP Dogma
Newt Gingrich, Stephen Miller, Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene, among others, all keep alluding to the same vicious, violent idea.
The hoods are off, and Republicans are embracing the white supremacist “replacement theory.”
If you’re dismissing this as fear-mongering or click-bait, you probably missed Newt Gingrich, the former Speaker of the House and renowned adulterer, espousing replacement theory rhetoric on Fox News earlier this week while talking to host Maria Baritromo, who always has time to offer a platform to dangerous conspiracy peddling. Speaking about Mexican immigrants coming to America during the pandemic, Gingrich said the “radical left” wants to “get rid of the rest of us” and would “love to drown traditional, classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing of American history, nothing of American tradition, nothing of the rule of law.”
He wasn’t talking about Donald Trump, notorious for being historically ignorant and profoundly incurious, but about those of us with darker skin, who are never seen as “traditional” or “classic” or “real Americans.” Gingrich, a craven political opportunist, parroted the talking points associated with “the great replacement” theory, also known as “white genocide,” which stipulates the white race and “Western civilization” are in dire threat of being weakened and ultimately usurped by immigrants of color, Muslims, feminists, and gays.
This nefarious international scheme is allegedly masterminded by a cabal of secretive and powerful Jews, who are perpetual supervillains in conspiratorial narratives. One of the main leaders of this alleged “deep state” is George Soros, the Hungarian-born, Jewish American billionaire and Holocaust survivor, whom Fox host Tucker Carlson accused of trying to hijack and remake American democracy and the Washington Times alleged was on a “quest to destroy America.” Before the 2018 midterm elections, President Trump said “a lot of people say” that Soros was funding the “caravan” of undocumented immigrants and Middle Easterners that he warned was about to invade America.
Terrorist Robert Bowers shared Trump’s fear. He proceeded to kill 11 Jewish people in a synagogue, whom he believed were helping the “invaders.” The replacement theory inspired terrorist Brenton Tarrant, who killed more than 50 Muslim “invaders” in New Zealand. Tarrant’s violent act in turn inspired terrorist Patrick Crusius, who killed 21 people in El Paso, Texas, seeking vengeance against “Hispanic” invaders.
Despite or because of the international bloodshed caused by this hateful conspiracy, conservatives including Paul Gosar and Marjorie Taylor Greene have embraced it as a political opportunity.
Gingrich was something of a pioneer here, jumping on the anti-sharia bandwagon in the summer of 2010, right before the midterm elections, as he geared up for his failed 2012 presidential bid. That manufactured threat, which became the template for the right’s anti-critical race theory crusade today, imported conspiracy theories and talking points created by white nationalists in Europe who warned about a Muslim “demographic explosion” that threatened to transform white, Christian Europe into “Eurabia.”
Hate has now become intersectional and global, with the Europeans’ American counterparts raving about how CRT or Sharia Law or Marxism will replace the Constitution, destroy American values and teach children to hate white people.
Although the phrase “the great replacement” was coined in 2010 by French author Renaud Camus, who refers to immigrants of color as “colonizers” and “Occupiers,” it’s not an original concept. In 1995, US neo-nazi David Lane warned about governments making white people into an “extinct species” in his subtly titled three-page White Genocide Manifesto. He also created the “14 word” white supremacist slogan: "We must secure the existence of our people and a future for white children.”
Steve Bannon and Stephen Miller’s white nationalist ideas were in part inspired by Jean Raspail’s 1973 French novel The Camp of the Saints, beloved by white nationalists around the world, that depicts how savage Indian refugees ultimately swarm and overwhelm France. Bannon has recommended the book as a dystopian warning, and Miller promoted the book and other white nationalist talking points to a Breitbart reporter when he was a Senior Advisor in the White House.
Bannon has also recommended conservatives learn from another fan of the replacement theory: Hungary’s authoritarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, who praised Trump in 2017 for “thinking precisely as we do when he says ‘America First,’” and who Bannon has praised for being “Trump before Trump.”
What did Orban do that makes him a model worth emulating for conservatives in the United States? He transformed Hungary’s once promising democracy into a one-party state where he filled the government and judiciary with political apparathicks, attacked the press and political opponents, abused his power to enrich himself and his cronies, promoted anti-semitic conspiracy theories against George Soros, and constructed a 109-mile high-tech, razor-wire border fence with Serbia.
Orban mobilized his base into giving up their freedoms by promising he will protect them and their Hungarian heritage from Muslims, refugees, and immigrants of color, and protect them from what he says are “political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.” Instead, he says, “We Hungarians have a different way of thinking. Instead of just numbers, we want Hungarian children. Migration for us is surrender.”
No wonder Tucker Carlson, who has openly promoted the replacement theory on his show and is beloved by white nationalists for mainstreaming their talking points, applauded Orban’s policies. It shouldn’t surprise anyone who’s been paying attention that Carlson, an American journalist, decided to host his top-rated cable news show from Hungary’s capital, Budapest, where he spent a week acting like a paid lobbyist, propagandist, and hype man for Orban and his Fidesz party.
Carlson told his viewers, “if you care about Western civilization and democracy and families and the ferocious assault on all three of those things by the leaders of our global institutions, you should know what is happening here right now.”
Carlson aired a fawning interview with Orban, giving him a platform to promote his ethno-nationalist policies, which Orban rationalized as defending Hungary’s national identity, “culture,” “tradition,” “language,” and “original inhabitants” from Muslims, liberals and other invaders allegedly opposed to freedom and Western civilization.
“Who’s freer?” Carlson asked. “If you’re an American, the answer is painful to admit.”
What’s actually happening in Hungary is a blueprint for autocracy, and that’s the end game for America’s Republican party, which is now a counter-majoritarian and counterfactual force. Trump administration senior advisor and anti-immgration zealot Stephen Miller made that crystal clear while addressing the Young America Foundation’s 43rd National Conservative Student Conference in Texas earlier this week.
In a 40-minute speech you can watch here if you’re a glutton for punishment, Miller echoed Orban and Carlson’s paranoid victimhood, manufactured grievances and racial anxiety of a white demographic terrified of losing power as he cited “stopping illegal immigration” as conservatives’ “highest priority.” There was no mention of the pandemic, income inequality, or climate change. Instead, Miller bragged about stopping refugees from making it to America and suspending the H1-B program that allowed skilled workers, like my father, to legally come to this country and achieve the “American Dream.”
Miller told the young students that liberals have forced them into a “battle none of us wanted,” because “they” want power “to dictate your lives and to change our country into something most of us wouldn’t recognize.” He wants liberals to “just leave the country alone and let America be America,” which to him means a Muslim Ban, undocumented kids separated from their parents in cages, a crowd chanting “send her back” when referring to a US Congresswoman, and ignoring the existence and rights of LGBTQ people.
Pointing to a bleak future, Miller created an absolutist framework and exhorted young conservatives to “fight back” and defend their “heritage: "The stakes in this game are the survival of the country. Those are the stakes. It’s that stark. That black and white. It’s that fundamental. The country survives or it does not.”
The young students gave him a rousing standing ovation at the end of his speech.
This is the Republican Party’s end game, a fight to the death that they hope will lead to an authoritarian regime like Orban’s Hungary. They have not been deterred or moderated by electoral defeat. Insead, they are growing ever more radical, weaponizing and embracing racist ideas, like the replacement theory, and planning future insurrections building on their failed first attempt on Jan. 6.