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New Data Reveals Staggering Increase in GOP’s Use of White Nationalist Invasion and Replacement Conspiracy Rhetoric

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The Republican Party has fully embraced the white nationalist and antisemitic invasion and replacement conspiracy to describe immigration and the border – a racist fiction that has inspired multiple terrorist attacks and actively threatens our democracy. Over the last several years, this deadly racist conspiracy that non-whites are plotting to create a permanent electoral majority for Democrats has been slowly adopted across the GOP and now has become the main party line. This isn’t a marginal shift of political rhetoric but a notable radicalization that crosses a dangerous threshold for the nation. 

While the replacement conspiracy is an old lie, it had largely lurked on the margins and the dark corners of neo-Nazi websites until 2017, when bigots marching in the streets of Charlottesville, Virginia, chanted: “You will not replace us, Jews will not replace us.” Following the deadly event, then-President Donald Trump gave these views a major boost and opened the GOP’s door to these extreme ideas. And over the last seven years, the GOP has come to adopt this white nationalist conspiracy as their own. 


Previous tracking from America’s Voice revealed how GOP officials and candidates have amplified this anti-immigrant rhetoric across social media platforms, floor speeches, and conservative conferences. That trend has only sharply increased, even as this rhetoric has resulted in real-world dangers.

America’s Voice tracking has newly identified nearly 700 instances of “invasion” and other nativist messaging from elected Republicans from August 2023 to December 2023. According to AdImpact, there were 27 TV ads in the last six months for total spending of $5M. In January 2024 alone, America’s Voice tracked more than 310 instances compared to August 2023, when there were only 44 instances. Since then, the total number of instances every month has not dropped and has only increased, except for November, when there were 93 instances. 

On X, the usage of great replacement conspiracy theory in tweets has increased for the last six months, as noted in the graph below. The increase can be correlated to when the Republican-controlled Congress was focused on the impeachment of DHS Sec. Alejandro Mayorkas or the issue of passing an anti-immigration bill with funding for Ukraine and Israel. The trend line in the graph predicts the increased usage of the dangerous GRT rhetoric on X. 

This uptick in the frequency of the use of replacement theory is deeply troubling as it indicates this conspiracy’s normalization. A process that increases the downstream deadly violence associated with this rhetoric. Additionally, this increase indicates that the use of the racist conspiracy is spreading throughout the GOP at all levels and is not contained to the most extreme candidates.


As America’s Voice Political Director Zachary Mueller recently noted, these are not fringe accounts but instead the main communications platforms of the Republican Party. And accounts belonging to top Republicans, too. Mueller noted in his Feb. 12 “Combatting the Nativist Narrative” that Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), a former proponent of immigration reform and a son of Cuban exiles, echoed replacement theory in a recent tweet. 

In Tennessee, Republican Governor Bill Hagerty lashed out at a reporter who questioned whether he was concerned that his use of “invasion” rhetoric was inspiring extremist actors. The reporter pointed to a neo-Nazi march in Nashville this past weekend. Marchers reportedly chanted “Sieg Heil” and called for the deportation of Mexicans. Earlier this month, the FBI also announced the arrest of a Tennessee man who sought to shoot and maim migrants at the border over a supposed invasion. 

But rather than address the extremist threats facing communities in his state and the nation, Hagerty angrily doubled down. “Well, you know, what I said is not rhetoric, it’s a fact … we are being invaded at the border,” he told the reporter.


This “invasion” and “replacement” conspiracy theory has also been the basis for some of the GOP’s most extreme actions, most recently the baseless impeachment effort against Department of Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas.

“If you’re in any doubt about actual fascist creep in the United States, know that the Great Replacement was — until a couple years ago — considered an absurd & deeply racist conspiracy theory,” observed Will Carless, extremism and emerging issues correspondent at USA Today. “A sitting US cabinet member was just impeached based on essentially the same notion.” House Republicans reaffirmed this conspiracy theory not once but twice after an initial vote failed.

“The immigration debate has historically been laced with racist and antisemitic rhetoric and conspiracy theories,” former Anti-Defamation League (ADL) leader Abraham Foxman wrote in an opinion essay at TIME. “These poisonous ideas are center stage in the drive to impeach Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas. Impeachment proponents in Congress accuse Mayorkas of deliberately inviting an immigrant invasion. This draws directly from the “Great Replacement” theory, which explains demographic change as a plot against white people, often instigated by Jews to undermine white dominance and usurp power.”


On the same day that House Republicans voted for the second time to impeach Secretary Mayorkas despite finding zero evidence he committed any high crimes and misdemeanors, Senate Republicans’ official Twitter account claimed that “Biden’s border invasion is destroying communities across America.” Meanwhile, the Congressional Leadership Fund, the House GOP’s top super PAC, has also been running “invasion” conspiracy ads in support of Texas Republican Governor Greg Abbott’s standoff with the federal government. 


House Republicans also released language despicably calling for “deporting” Mayorkas, who is a naturalized U.S. citizen and former refugee. This is a disgusting and bigoted attack labeling anyone that Republicans don’t like as “deportable” – yet it’s their mainstream position. Otherizing and deporting is a central part of the agenda put forward by indicted former President Donald Trump, who is seeking a chilling mass purge of undocumented immigrants from the United States. 

The New York Times’ recent report on the “deporting” rhetoric was notable in part for (correctly) labeling House and Senate Republicans’ attacks “racist.”

“In private, the language was uglier,” the Times reported. “During a closed-door meeting of House Republicans, Representative Mark E. Green, Republican of Tennessee and the panel’s chairman, referred to Mr. Mayorkas as a ‘reptile with no balls’ because of his refusal to resign from his post, according to Politico. A White House official condemned the statement, noting that Mr. Mayorkas is Jewish and that the comment echoed an antisemitic trope.”

“The racist discourse by Republican members of Congress, both in casual comments and in official statements, has become so commonplace that it now often slips by without any real condemnation from the G.O.P.,” the report continued. 

Recall back to 2019, when then-Republican Minority Leader McCarthy removed disgraced former Congressman Rep. Steve King (R-IA) from his House committee assignments after he publicly questioned what was so offensive about the term “white nationalist.” Post-King, there are now zero repercussions from GOP leadership. In fact, as part of his craven bargaining to win the gavel after Republicans took the House in 2022, McCarthy restored Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene (R-GA) to committees after Democrats had removed her for endorsing political violence. 

Greene recently called for the deportation of her colleague, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN), who is a U.S. citizen and former refugee. Greene faced no repercussions from GOP House leadership.


“The pattern is playing out as the Republican Party once again coalesces behind former President Donald J. Trump, who routinely made bigoted statements during his first campaign for the White House and his presidency,” the Times continued. “His approach has encouraged some Republicans to freely use rhetoric that denigrates people based on ethnicity, religion or nationality.”

Republicans, of course, have free will and can make their own choices – and they’ve been making clear where they stand. When Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY), the fourth-ranking Republican in the House, was questioned about Trump repeatedly parroting the horrific rhetoric of Adolf Hitler, she refused to condemn him and instead doubled down on his incendiary and dangerous claims that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the nation, even after positioning herself as a supposed foe of antisemitism amid the right-wing’s disingenuous war on college presidents

“It is hard to overstate the significance of the near complete adoption by the GOP and their activist base of viewing immigration & the border through the white nationalist replacement & invasion theory,” Mueller wrote in a recent social media post. “This isn’t just about migrants or hate its about justifying a racist authoritarian state.”