Rep. David Valadao (CA-22) was last month one of 200 Republicans to support far-right extremist Rep. Jim Jordan in his failed bid for House Speaker. But rather than standing up to his party, Rep. Valadao then doubled-down, becoming one of 220 House Republicans that unanimously voted to make Rep. Mike Johnson of Louisiana the new Speaker. Johnson, Vanessa Cárdenas previously noted, “has gone farther than most of his Republican colleagues in elevating alarmist and dangerous rhetoric.”
Johnson “has repeatedly flirted with what’s known as the ‘great replacement theory,’ the idea that Democrats are scheming to supplant American voters with immigrants,” The Washington Post’s Greg Sargent writes. “The Louisiana Republican’s views show how fringe conspiracy theories have gone mainstream in the Republican Party at the highest levels of power.” In his analysis at CNN, Ron Brownstein writes “Johnson has been noteworthy in embracing one variation of the xenophobic and racist Great Replacement Theory. That theory, which originated in far-right White nationalist circles, argues that Democrats and liberals are deliberately importing undocumented immigrants to ‘replace’ the White majority and diminish their political power.”
Similarly, Maria Cardona writes at The Hill that Johnson “espouses so-called “white replacement theory” and uses the violent language of ‘invasion’ when talking about migrants who come to the United States fleeing violence and dictatorships.” This dangerous and racist rhetoric, Cardona continues, “has led to brutal and deadly attacks on Latino Americans.”
Rep. Valadao’s earlier vote for Rep. Jordan was a vote for a key amplifier of the white nationalist “great replacement” conspiracy theory and completely unworkable and cruel demands, including H.R. 2 – more accurately known as the Child Detention Act.
But after that vote failed, Rep. Valadao then voted for someone even more extreme, cementing conspiratorial rhetoric “at the highest levels of power,” as Sargent wrote.
Rep. Valadao cast his vote despite representing a district with a proud and rich immigrant history and where the labor of these essential workers is simply indispensable. Kern County, which is partially in Rep. Valadao’s district, was last year named the top agricultural producer in the entire nation – and it’s immigrants who are the backbone of this industry. In California’s 22nd District, and all across the U.S., we eat because of the essential immigrant workers that Speaker Jordan and Rep. Jordan want to deport.
Rep. Valadao’s votes here are just another example that he is unwilling to stand up to his party, no matter how extreme, for the good of the country and the good of his state and district.