MARCH 21, 2024

Washington, DC — Several must-read columns underscore the growing dangers posed by Elon Musk and other right-wing actors and Republicans’ mainstreaming of the “replacement theory” and related conspiracies. Beyond the connections to white nationalism and the ugly anti-immigrant tone – and the attempt by the State of Texas to rewrite the Constitution based on the “invasion” conspiracy – the larger significance is the role such conspiracies play in delegitimizing democratic election processes to justify January 6th and similar political violence.

According to Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice:

“We must be unequivocal in our condemnation and clear-eyed about the dangers of the amplification to the replacement and invasion conspiracy. It is not just about hate towards immigrants, but an attempt to scapegoat immigrants to undermine our democracy. If the multi-racial electoral and governance system is illegitimate then fighting against it, even violently, becomes more legitimate, which is at the heart of Republicans’ electoral argument in 2024.”

Among the key commentaries:

Greg Sargent of The New Republic on Elon Musk’s mainstreaming of the “great replacement theory”: Sargent writes how Musk’s Twitter (X) feed has been busy promoting the dangerous theory and “purports to lay bare a vast conspiracy among Democrats to ‘flood’ the country with ‘illegals’ to lock in a ‘permanent voting majority.’ … it illustrates the growing sophistication of far-right information spaces … Musk can deny embracing ‘great replacement theory’ all he wants. But it’s a scam. In addition to pushing it himself, he’s used X to create a far right information safe-space where an extraordinary outpouring of ‘great replacement’ and ‘white genocide’ propaganda is absolutely flourishing.

America’s Voice has long highlighted the real world dangers – as already witnessed in places such as Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Charlottesville, and El Paso – of the right-wing’s continued mainstreaming of the “replacement” conspiracy and its related “invasion” assertion. These dangers are ever-more real given the growing amplification of such conspiracies by Musk and other right-wing actors along with Republican candidates and elected officials

Lest anyone forget, the very basis for the extraordinary actions being taken by the State of Texas to wrest control of foreign policy, borders, immigration and deportation away from the federal government is the assertion that Texas is facing a hostile “invasion” by an organized influx of migrants.

The dangers of this type of politics don’t stop there – notably, America’s Voice has been highlighting how the immigration fear-mongering and falsehoods also serve as a crucial link in the right-wing effort to delegitimize the democratic process, stoke fear that elections are rigged and justify political violence as a result:

Gabe Ortiz at the America’s Voice blog, “Musk’s Ongoing Amplification of the Replacement Theory Uses Immigrants To Sow Election Distrust,” noting: “Musk’s tweets are not random speculation. He’s instead an active participant in a right-wing campaign attempting to use immigrants to sow doubt and distrust in our electoral process, socializing the idea that any election result they do not like can be blamed on this conspiracy of fraudulent immigrant voters.

Rex Huppke’s USA Today column referenced the disqualifying nature of both Donald Trump’s dangerous dehumanizing nativism and his anti-democratic threats, noting: “Trump’s ‘blood bath’ line overshadowed more dangerous comments … Of greater importance, I’d argue, was the fact that Trump’s Saturday rally in Dayton began with an announcer saying, ‘Ladies and gentlemen, please rise for the horribly and unfairly treated Jan. 6 hostages.’… The presumptive GOP presidential nominee has taken to calling the charged, tried, convicted and imprisoned insurrectionist-lunkheads who attacked the U.S. Capitol in 2021 ‘hostages’ He referred to them as ‘unbelievable patriots.’… Trump also continued his dehumanizing anti-immigrant rhetoric … One weekend of Trump babble should disqualify him.”
Zachary Mueller, Senior Research Director of America’s Voice, noted: “Republicans at the highest levels are spreading the conspiratorial lie about a plot to pollute the November election with fraudulent immigrant votes as an excuse to restrict voting by American citizens and in order to prime the country for another assault on our democracy if the results are not in their favor.” Read Mueller’s full analysis in “Setting the Stage for Another January 6th: Anti-Immigrant Conspiracies Help Delegitimize Elections and Democracy”

Vanessa Cárdenas, Executive Director of America’s Voice, summed it up well: “Trump’s anti-immigrant language, his allusions to violence and his support for the January 6th insurrectionists aren’t different parts of his stump speech – they are all core planks of his larger anti-democratic strategy and pursuit of power.”

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