Washington, DC – The Republican Party is gripped by extremism. Pretending otherwise is dangerous. Our nation’s democracy hangs in the balance.
A new poll released by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) and conducted by Tulchin Research finds that a majority of Republican respondents believe in the white replacement theory. Conducted before the white supremacist gunman in Buffalo used white replacement theory as an excuse for mass murder, the poll offers a look into the simmering stew of white supremacist beliefs embraced by many Republican voters and many GOP leaders.
Key excerpts from the findings of the 1,500 person nationwide poll are below:
“Nearly 7 in 10 Republicans surveyed agree to at least some extent that demographic changes in the United States are deliberately driven by liberal and progressive politicians attempting to gain political power by ‘replacing more conservative white voters.’
…a plurality of Americans has a positive view of the country’s changing demographics. But the same is not true for Republicans, a majority of whom viewed those changes not only negatively, but as a threat to white Americans.
…on the right, the belief that the left is using immigration to erode the political power of conservative white voters is correlated with other conspiratorial beliefs. Over three-quarters of those who believe the 2020 presidential election was ‘fraudulent, rigged and illegitimate’…while 75% of those who believe the government is using the Jan. 6 insurrection to justify the political persecution of conservative Americans also agree with the replacement conspiracy.”
As USA Today noted in covering the poll:
“Until a few years ago, replacement theory was confined to white supremacist chatrooms, neo-Nazi websites and conspiracy theory boards. In the past few years, it has been promoted by cable network anchors, conservative pundits, politicians and other public figures.
‘The poll really underscores the fact that this white nationalist replacement narrative is thoroughly mainstream on the political right,’ said Susan Corke, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. ‘It’s in the water.’”
Meanwhile, the New York Times reports on how the Proud Boys have infiltrated and started to seize control over key elements of the Miami-Dade Republican Party. As the story notes:
“The concerted effort by the Proud Boys to join the leadership of the party — and, in some cases, run for local office — has destabilized and dramatically reshaped the Miami-Dade Republican Party that former Gov. Jeb Bush and others built into a powerhouse nearly four decades ago, transforming it from an archetype of the strait-laced establishment to an organization roiled by internal conflict as it wrestles with forces pulling it to the hard right. The conflict comes at a pivotal moment for Republicans nationally, as primary voters weigh whether to wrench the party from its extremist elements — or more fully embrace them.”
The following is a statement from Vanessa Cárdenas, America’s Voice Deputy Director:
Since the Buffalo massacre, only two elected Republicans in Congress have denounced replacement theory: Liz Cheney (R-WY) and Adam Kinziger (R-IL). Two. The others refuse to because replacement theory has become Republican orthodoxy.
A multi-racial and inclusive democracy is the hope and the promise of the United States. It is the heart of the American experiment. But one of our two major political parties is radicalizing before our eyes. The GOP base is becoming dominated by white nationalists, whose vile conspiracies are inciting violence. Yet Republican leaders refuse to denounce or hold to account these elements in their midst. Instead, they are enabling these ideas, all in an effort to seize power.
This should be a call to action for all of us who care about the American future. The stakes are much greater than the typical red vs. blue divides. Those of us who are not steeped in the promotion of and the acquiescence to the language of hate and fear – disaffected Republicans, independents, Democrats, young people, and more – need to wake up and stand up to this radical minority. They are promoting a toxic brew of white nationalism, authoritarianism and counter-majoritarianism – and threatening our pluralistic democracy in the process.