A growing number of elected Republicans are openly promoting “white replacement theory,” a decades-old conspiracy theory that’s animated terrorist attacks, including the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing.
Why it matters: This mainstreams what once was the sole provenance of white supremacists.
What it is: “White replacement theory” posit the existence of a plot to change America’s racial composition by methodically enacting policies that reduce white Americans’ political power.
The conspiracies encompass strains of anti-Semitism as well as racism and anti-immigrant sentiment.
Driving the news: Fox News host Tucker Carlson has for years alluded to elements of replacement theory. Former President Trump emboldened some believers, as well, including by retweeting accounts that identified themselves as believers in “white genocide.”
Carlson’s recent defiance, in the face of the Anti-Defamation League’s calls for him to resign, have put these conspiracies back into the spotlight, along with the pronouncements of some high-profile elected officials.
Rep. Matt Gaetz (R-Fla.) last week tweeted an explicit endorsement of WRT. Gaetz later tweeted that he doesn’t think of replacement “solely on race/ethnicity terms,” blaming “the Left” for taking him out of context.