by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
Since the Democrats gained control of Congress in January of 2021, they have squandered their tenuous grip on power by engaging in profligate spending, performative investigations and abortive attempts to federalize state elections. The resultant paucity of legislative achievements, combined with a long list of Biden administration blunders, has given the GOP a realistic chance to win majorities in the House and Senate this November. Inevitably, this means “Republican racism” will be a central theme of the Democratic midterm campaign. Indeed, they have already crafted a narrative to explain the GOP’s alleged affinity for white supremacy — the “great replacement” theory.
This is a cynical attempt to exploit the recent mass murder in Buffalo by associating Republicans with cherry-picked passages from the killer’s 180-page manifesto, which includes several oblique references to the theory. The irony of this narrative is that, like most political theses based on shifting demographics and group identity, replacement theory has long been identified with the left. The most obvious example is the 2002 book, The Emerging Democratic Majority, by Ruy Teixeira and John B. Judis. They argued that a variety of social and demographic changes — including the growth of nonwhite communities as a percentage of the electorate — offered the Democrats an opportunity to dominate American politics.
That this never happened is due to what Teixeira calls “the bowdlerization” of his thesis. As he wrote in 2020, “Democratic pundits, operatives and elected officials have falsely come to believe that demographics are destiny.” Teixeira goes on to point out that this misreading led directly to the most shocking upset endured by the Democrats so far this century: “The apotheosis of this attitude was Hillary Clinton’s infamous statement that half of Trump’s supporters belonged in a ‘basket of deplorables’.” Incredibly, the Democrats and the media are about to commit the very same blunder by insisting that racism is a mainstream Republican value.