What do Fox host Tucker Carlson, New York Republican U.S. Congresswoman Elise Stefanik and Buffalo mass murderer Payton Gendron have in common? All three believe in the “Great Replacement Theory.”
In short, they believe the Democratic Party’s goal is to disempower white people and elevate brown and Black people so that Democrats can retain power in perpetuity.
It’s a nasty and deadly way of thinking.
Unfortunately, from a Washington Post poll, we know it is not only that trio subscribing to the Great Replacement Theory — nearly half of all Republicans join them in that belief.
From post-2020 election polling we know that Democrats are leaking both Latino and Black men from their base. The Great Replacement Theory is empirically false, but that hasn’t prevented Gendron and other recent mass murderers — Robert Bowers at the Tree of Life Synagogue in Pittsburgh, and Patrick Crusius at a Walmart in El Paso — from acting on its hateful distortions.
Recently, FBI Director Christopher Wray had this to say before a Senate panel: “The number of arrests of white supremacists and other racially motivated extremists has almost tripled.”
Thanks to Donald Trump, the Republican Party has become unmoored from reality — it’s a party of grievance, ethno-nationalism, lies and second-class status for women. The Great Replacement Theory is joined by other crackpot notions — the 2020 election was stolen, schools teach critical race theory, climate change is a hoax — to bring a once-rational party to a dark and foreboding place.
Many Republicans know this — they must speak out. It’s getting late.
As a lifelong Democrat, I’m the first one to concede that we’ve made mistakes, but our mistakes are of the variety that occur in other walks of life and professions: policy errors, excess libido, greed. These errors have been and will be adjudicated through the press and the ballot box, and should be.
In 2000, Al Gore won the popular vote, the Supreme Court short-circuited his challenge to the Florida vote, and yet he conceded the election to George Bush for the good of the country. Hillary Clinton won the popular vote by nearly 3 million votes and conceded for the good of the country.
Donald Trump lost convincingly and, in the words of FBI Director Wray, stoked his credulous supporters to “domestic terrorism,” a reference to the January 6, 2021, riot that led to the deaths of five Capitol Police officers.
Anthony is a former chair of the Southampton Town Democratic Committee — Ed.