After a racist gun massacre in western New York this week, Democrats are blaming conservatives for instigating unrest by sharing the same white nationalist sentiments as the alleged shooter.
The Buffalo Saga
The atrocity in Buffalo, when a lone shooter shot 13 people — 10 of them dead — at a store in a mostly black neighborhood on Sunday evening, shocked lawmakers from both parties.
The accused, an 18-year-old from Conklin, N.Y., a small rural village 200 miles east, allegedly authored a lengthy online rant, expressing concerns that America’s white population is being overtaken by expanding numbers of races.
The “replacement hypothesis” conspiracy has a lengthy history on the outskirts of American politics, echoing for years within the subterranean worlds of white nationalism and white supremacy.
However, it managed to gain a recent mainstream media toehold under former President Trump, whose “Make America Great Again” advertising began with a blanket invasion of Mexican immigrants.
It managed to gain legions of supporters across the country, is still the GOP’s most keyframe animation force, and over a year after Trump departed from office.
This is bulls***. Stefanik said that Democrats wanted to amnesty illegal immigrants to change the voting patterns in the country. That is not the Great Replacement Theory. It also happens to be the same demographic argument Ruy Teixiera made in "The Emerging Democratic Majority." https://t.co/ORaWTK1jCU
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) May 16, 2022
Following Saturday’s shooting in Buffalo, MAGA-supporting Republicans and their allies came under fire for previous comments that implied, to varying degrees, that Democrats attempted to strengthen minorities at the expense of white people through immigration policies.
Some of those right-wing writers have openly endorsed replacement theories; others avoided using the term, but warned of an immigration “insurgency” meant to keep Democrats in office indefinitely.
In either event, critics claim such discourse fuels nationalist action, like the shooting in Buffalo on Saturday.
Democrats Will Use This
Rep. Brian Higgins (D-NY) said in a tweet, “what genuinely ought to be substituted in this society is ignorance and loathing, which is forming a divide, reiterating lies, and destroying our neighbors.”
Higgins isn’t the only one.
Reps. Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinzinger (R-IL), were among the fiercest critics of the GOP’s romance with fringe nationalists, accusing its own leaders of doing far too little to battle prejudice within their own ranks.
— Fox News (@FoxNews) May 17, 2022
“The Republican leadership in the House has encouraged white nationalism, white supremacy, as well as anti-Semitism.”
“What commences with words nearly always finishes in something vastly more harmful,” Cheney remarked on Twitter. “These thoughts and people who espouse them must be disclaimed and forsaken by @GOP leaders.”
Following a series of violent incidents in recent years, the argument over the replacement theory has been thrown into the national spotlight.
There was the 2017 Charlottesville, Virginia marches, when white nationalists chanted, “Jews will not supplant us.”
Then, came the 2018 Pittsburgh church shooting. Jews were attacked for aiding immigrants. There was the 2019 Walmart slaughter in Texas, in which the shooter said he anticipated a “Hispanic takeover.”
Payton Gendron, the accused in Saturday’s massacre in Buffalo, expressed similar sentiments online, stating the black customers he attacked were a threat to “[his] own race,” a peril he equated to the Holocaust.