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GOP Must Abandon Great Replacement Theory

Bill Press, Tribune Content Agency on

How times have changed.

Once upon a time, not so long ago, there was a Republican congressman from Iowa named Steve King. An outright racist, anti-Semite, and white nationalist. He denounced immigration as a threat to Western civilization: “We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.” He slammed Democrats for electing so many women and minorities to Congress: “You could look over there and think the Democratic Party is no country for white men.” He refused to apologize for his white supremacy views, asking the New York Times: “White nationalist, white supremacist, Western civilization – how did that language become offensive?”

And what happened to Steve King? He was denounced by Republican Speaker John Boehner. He was condemned by the House 416-1. The Republican Steering Committee removed him from all House committees. The National Republican Congressional Committee refused to give him any campaign funds. He was trounced in the next Republican primary and lost his congressional seat.

How times have changed. And how the Republican Party has gone to hell.

Steve King’s the poster boy for today’s Republican Party. His extreme ideas are no longer on the fringe of the party. Republicans have just given them a fancy new name: the “great replacement theory” – the totally unfounded argument that Democrats, or Jews, or both, are deliberately working to empower nonwhite immigrants and African Americans. Why? In order to take power away from white people.

OK. Stop right there. By any measure, this theory shouldn’t even get off the ground. White people are not victims. White people are not in peril. White people are not discriminated against, simply because they’re white. Whether it’s in politics, health care, education, entertainment, law enforcement, or any other endeavor, this is still a white person’s world – and white people are not in any danger of losing their clout.

 

It’s an idea so absurd it’s hard to believe anybody could take it seriously, let alone kill for it. Yet that’s what an 18-year-old – another self-described racist, white supremacist, and white nationalist – did last Saturday in Buffalo, NY. And he’s not the first. In the 180-page screed he posted beforehand, the Buffalo killer admitted having been “inspired” by the March 2019 murder of 51 people at two mosques in Christchurch, New Zealand, and the August 2019 murder of 22 at a Walmart in El Paso, Texas.

And how would a kid from Conklin, New York, learn about the “great replacement theory?” Easily. From social media; from Fox News hosts Tucker Carlson, Laura Ingraham, and Jeanine Pirro; and, shockingly, from leading Republican Members of Congress.

Last year Rep. Scott Perry (R-Pa) used a House Foreign Affairs Committee hearing to spread the great replacement theory. “For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born Americans, native-born Americans, to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation.”

Perry’s not alone. In March, Reps. Paul Gosar (R-Ariz.) and Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-Ga.) appeared in Orlando at a meeting of the America First Political Conference, an avowed white supremacist organization headed by white nationalist and Holocaust denier Nick Fuentes.

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