UPDATE: Here’s conservative activist Charlie Kirk, who readers will recall endorsed Colorado GOP candidate for governor Heidi Ganahl with much fanfare recently:
Here’s white Christian nationalist Charlie Kirk spouting #ReplacementTheory on his April 13 show. Full quote in the video. Hilarious that he pretends not to even know what “replacement theory” is as he articulates it perfectly. #ChristianNationalism https://t.co/qnKaSqfv2i pic.twitter.com/xbjmir64Qx
— Samuel Perry (@profsamperry) May 16, 2022
And if that’s not enough for you:
There is an undeniable War on White People in The West.
— Charlie Kirk (@charliekirk11) April 28, 2022
That won’t go over well at Cinco de Mayo.
The New York Times reports in the aftermath of another horrific mass shooting this past weekend–this time in Buffalo, New York, and perpetrated by an avowed white supremacist who followed the by-now familiar procedure of posting his racist political manifesto online and then livestreaming the attack:
Inside a Pittsburgh synagogue in 2018, a white man with a history of antisemitic internet posts gunned down 11 worshipers, blaming Jews for allowing immigrant “invaders” into the United States.
The next year, another white man, angry over what he called “the Hispanic invasion of Texas,” opened fire on shoppers at an El Paso Walmart, leaving 23 people dead, and later telling the police he had sought to kill Mexicans.
And in yet another deadly mass shooting, unfolding in Buffalo on Saturday, a heavily armed white man is accused of killing 10 people after targeting a supermarket on the city’s predominantly Black east side, writing in a lengthy screed posted online that the shoppers there came from a culture that sought to “ethnically replace my own people.”
“Replacement theory” was long confined to the fringe of far-right Republican debate over immigration policy, but here in Colorado it’s been openly courted by the GOP establishment for many years. A talking point in various forms of archetype anti-immigrant extremist Rep. Tom Tancredo back in the mid aughts, the Western Conservative Summit hosted annually by Colorado Christian University’s political arm the Centennial Institute later brought in globally prominent anti-immigrant politicians like Geert Wilders of the Netherlands, who built his notoriety on the idea that Muslims are “replacing” the White population of Europe.
It was the election of Donald Trump in 2016 and the subsequent revitalization of open racism seen at the 2017 “Unite the Right” rally in Charlottesville, Virginia that helped mainstream what were once considered views so repellent that even Republicans had no room for them in their tent. At the nation’s largest conservative media outlet Fox News, primetime host Tucker Carlson has referenced the idea hundreds of times since 2016.
And yes, as we’ve noted in this space several times, Colorado’s own far-right blast furnace of outrage Rep. Lauren Boebert has made “replacement theory” a central component of her platform. In April of last year:
BOEBERT: That’s because walls work. Any Democrat who tells you otherwise is an open borders nutjob. The truth is, they want borders wide open. It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California, and now we’re seeing in New York they are paying 15 grand to illegal immigrants. Fifteen grand because you came here illegally.
And by last September, as you can watch in the clip above, embracing the theory by name:
BOEBERT: To top it off, they want to grant amnesty and a path to citizenship to eight million illegal aliens. Yes, there is definitely a replacement theory that’s going on right now. [Pols emphasis] We are killing American jobs and bringing in illegal aliens from all over the world to replace them if Americans will not comply with the tyrannical orders that are coming down from the White House.
Since the mass shooting Saturday in Buffalo, Rep. Elise Stefanik of New York has been a focal point of criticism after her own ads accusing Democrats of plotting a “permanent election insurrection” through mass immigration. Stefanik has enjoyed a rapid rise to leadership as a fastidiously loyal servant of Trump’s, and has been cultivating a power base through support for downballot candidates in this year’s midterms including Colorado gubernatorial candidate Heidi Ganahl and CD-8 candidate Jan Kulmann. With Boebert and Stefanik both out there pushing their respective versions of the Buffalo shooter’s manifesto, every Republican they’ve touched should now face questions about it
Because the shooter chose to spell out his motivations in detail, there’s no debating them–any more than it can be debated that the Colorado Springs Planned Parenthood shooter committed his crimes in 2015 sincerely believing that he was stopping the sale of “baby parts.” Or that Trump knew exactly what he wanted when he told his supporters on January 6th to “fight like hell” or they “won’t have a country anymore.”
In all of these cases, responsibility can no longer be rationally denied.
The denial must be willful.