His name wasn’t mentioned in the Buffalo shooter’s screed and he was nowhere near the Tops supermarket Saturday, but as the high priest of Great Replacement Theory (GRT) that drove the mass murderer, Tucker Carlson needs to be spoken about.
Carlson’s attempts to separate himself from the 18-year-old mass murder by denouncing violence has the credibility of Donald Trump saying, “I don’t have a racist bone in my body.”
Don’t let anyone tell you GRT is merely a political issue, not with so much spilled blood. Carlson may try to dismiss the shooter’s screed as racist and not political, but apparently he hasn’t been listening to his own program.
GRT is the conspiracy theory that black, yellow, brown and other minorities are coming to the United States to “replace the current electorate” of white Christian “legacy Americans” with “more obedient people from faraway countries,” Carlson said. “That’s what’s happening, actually. Let’s just say it. That’s true.”
Those “legacy Americans” apparently have a greater right to the land than everyone else. Who are these people who complain of “white genocide?” They’re the descendants of white European immigrants who came here and wiped out the indigenous population.
These invaders are being sent by “globalists” – a codeword for Jews – who want to take over the country for their own interests, according to 18-year-old Payton Gendron, who murdered 10 black Americans and wounded one other black person and two whites.
GRT has inspired other mass murderers around the world – Jews in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and Poway, California, Hispanics and Latinos in El Paso, Texas, and Muslims in Christchurch, New Zealand – and the only thing to be sure of is there will be more to come.
Behind the baseless conspiracy, in the eyes of its believers, is an international cabal of Jews who want to take over the white Christian country by flooding it with all kinds of immigrants. A leader of this plot is Jewish philanthropist George Soros, according to Carlson and Trump.
Then-president Trump insinuated – “they say” – Soros was funding waves of immigrant caravans going to America’s southern border as well as protests by Black Lives Matter and Antifa. Carlson did a TV “special” on Soros whom he accused of waging a “secret war” to destroy the West, according to Haaretz.
The accused Buffalo mass murderer’s political theory “closely matches what leading voices on Fox News and even some top House Republicans are saying ahead of the 2022 midterm elections,” The Washington Post said.
White nationalists have been saying such things for many years, but now it is coming from high echelons in the Republican Party and the pervasive conservative media.
One cannot subscribe to GRT and claim not to be antisemitic since at its core its practitioners are embracing a conspiracy that accuses Jews of seeking to take over the world.
White supremacists marchers in the Unite the Right demonstration in Charlottesville in 2017, who Trump called “very fine people,” were chanting “Jews will not replace us.”
Rep. Elise Stefanik, the third-ranking GOP House leader, is the new face of replacement theory in Congress. She has avoided the specific term but has “echoed the tenets” of GRT to motivate Republican voters, reported The Washington Post, by pushing the conspiracy theory in her ads on social media. She has also dialed up her rhetoric by accusing Democrats of being “pedo grifters,” meaning pedophiles, for providing infant formula to immigrant babies during the shortage.
The malignant theory is growing in the GOP and on the Right, where other disciples include Rep. Scott Perry, chairman of the Freedom Caucus, Rep. Matt Gaetz, Sen. Ron Johnson, J. D. Vance, Laura Ingraham, Jeanine Pirro and Ann Coulter. Arizona lawmaker and conspiracy theorist Wendy Rogers posted on social media that the incident was a false flag operation, and the alleged shooter was a federal agent.
An Associated Press poll found one in three Americans subscribe to replacement theory, including nearly half of all Republican voters.
Oddly, one stream running through GRT is the apparent conviction that all immigrants will vote Democratic. That could become a self-fulfilling prophecy.
GRT is a diet staple at Fox News, where Carlson, the network’s top-rated showman, has mentioned variations in more than 400 episodes of his show since 2016, by New York Times’ count. “No public figure has promoted replacement theory more loudly or relentlessly,” the paper added. His colleagues are also avid preachers.
Rep. Liz Cheney, who was dumped from GOP leadership for telling the truth about Trump, said, “The House GOP leadership has enabled white Christian nationalism, white supremacy and antisemitism.” She called on leadership to “renounce and reject these views,” but don’t hold your breath waiting; the best you’ll get is the usually empty phrase about “thoughts and prayers.”
Jonathan Greenblatt, head of the Anti-Defamation League, accused Carlson of “dangerous race-baiting, extreme rhetoric” that is “not legitimate political discourse” and said he should be fired. Fat chance. He has the network’s highest ratings and brings in big ad bucks and the Murdochs – Fox’s owners – apparently believe hate sells.
The basic tenet of replacement conspiracy is the unseen hand of the “elites,” “globalists” or “New York media” – codewords for Jews. It’s behind dual-loyalty accusations. Trump himself may have professed to love his Jewish family members but that did not stop him from heavily trafficking in antisemitic tropes.
Like the time his campaign aid portrayed three Jews with a warning of a “global power structure.” And his repeated attacks on Soros financing various conspiracies.
Antisemitic and racist conspiracies have simmered beneath the surface of American politics for most of our history. What’s different now is the reality that one of the two major parties openly and energetically promotes these theories. And what’s new is a vast network of extremist “news” sources and social media giving these theories the appearance of legitimacy.
Great Replacement Theory and its parent, Christian nationalism, represent an immediate and dire threat to every minority in this country. This week, the victims were blacks in Buffalo, but our own community is very much in the crosshairs of this surging movement. And the Republican leadership – either active cheerleaders or cynical enablers of this malignancy – have vastly magnified the danger.