Democrats Are Massive Hypocrites on So-Called 'Great Replacement Theory' | Opinion

The mass shooting on May 14 in Buffalo, New York, was an atrocity. The killer will pay in this life and the next one for his crime. Unfortunately, however, the Democratic Party, led by President Joe Biden and its allies in the corporate media, wasted no time weaponizing the slain victims.

The suspect left behind a 180-page document outlining a schizophrenic worldview. "On the political compass I fall in the mild-moderate authoritarian left category," he wrote, while expressing qualified support for the "LGB (drop the t)" community. More importantly, it also described the so-called "great replacement," the idea that, as conservative commentator Michael Knowles put it, "Democrats are using immigration policy to change the demographics of the United States in a way that would seem to help them politically."

Biden and company latched onto that part of the murderer's incoherent screed to pin the shooting on their political opponents, from Fox News to the GOP. In essence, Democrats argue that Republicans' rhetoric and positions on immigration radicalized the shooter.

But there's a small problem: Democrats and progressive activists, based on their own rhetoric over the years, subscribe to "replacement theory" more than anyone else. As vice president, Biden himself said that a "constant" and "unrelenting" stream of immigration would reduce Americans of "white European stock" to an "absolute minority," and that this was "a source of our strength."

Democrats weren't always so sanguine about demographic change, though.

Recall that the late Sen. Ted Kennedy (D-MA) assured concerned Americans that the 1965 Hart-Celler immigration law would "not upset the ethnic mix of our society"—it would not, in other words, result in demographic change. That kind of talk from a Democrat is unimaginable today. It was also, in retrospect, simply incorrect. The Hart-Celler Act, which ended nationality quotas in immigration policy, resulted in an influx of non-European newcomers, encouraged illegal immigration and drove rapid demographic shifts. "The people who moved here after the 1965 act made the United States a truly multicultural nation," NPR celebrated in 2015.

Obviously, Democrats have changed their tune since Kennedy's day, abandoning their historic political bloc of white working-class (oftentimes Catholic) voters for the so-called "coalition of the ascendant," in which immigrants are key. This is not a conspiracy theory; it "happens to be the same demographic argument Ruy Teixiera made in The Emerging Democratic Majority," as conservative commentator Ben Shapiro noted.

Shapiro is right, but there's more to it than that.

Teixeira published The Emerging Democratic Majority in 2004. That book argued, in his words, that Democrats should exploit "economic and demographic changes, including the growth of minority communities and cultural shifts among college graduates." And simply put, the "growth" of those communities has been due to policies that have facilitated mass migration. (It is worth also noting that Teixeira has said Democratic activists "bowdleriz[ed]" his thesis as part of their efforts to coalition-build on "identity politics.")

Police and FBI agents continue their investigation
Police and FBI agents continue their investigation of the shooting at Tops Market on May 16, 2022 in Buffalo, New York. Scott Olson/Getty Images

In 2013, Politico concluded that amnesty for millions of illegal aliens "would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects in many states they now win easily." The following year, James G. Gimpel, a professor of government at the University of Maryland, College Park, published a study that found the "flow of legal immigrants into the country—29.5 million from 1980 to 2012—has remade and continues to remake the nation's electorate in favor of the Democratic Party."

A comprehensive report by the American Enterprise Institute, the Brookings Institution and the Center for American Progress came to a similar conclusion in 2016: In the long run, demography favors the Democrats. And in 2018, CNN host Michael Smerconish discussed with demographer Rogelio Saenz, over a chyron that read, "THE VANISHING WHITE AMERICAN," that demographic trends connected to immigration spell doom for the GOP.

All of this was viewed as a legitimate political strategy for Democrats, and was discussed in the cold language of hard political calculus. It took a harsher turn in the era of former President Donald Trump, who spoke to the anxieties of white working-class Americans. No group likes being told that it is the villain of history and deserving of dispossession. Trump's rise should have been a warning sign to Democrats and progressives to tone down the talk of demographic triumphalism. Instead, they dialed it up to eleven.

Looking back on Trump's election, New York Times opinion columnist Charles Blow reduced Trump's victory to "white extinction anxiety." He cheered that the 2020 Census showed "the browning of America, the shrinking of the white population and the explosion of the nonwhite." Jennifer Rubin, an opinion columnist for The Washington Post, echoed Blow, tweeting that the census results heralded "a more diverse, more inclusive society. She added: "[T]his is fabulous news. [N]ow we need to prevent minority White rule." If anyone is radicalizing people in this country, it's those who have so ostentatiously declared themselves to be on the "right side of history."

Whether and how much immigration is a good thing is a secondary question to the fact of Democrats' disingenuousness about so-called "great replacement theory": "It's not happening, and it's good that it is." Political scientist Michael Anton calls this the "celebration parallax," which states: "[T]he same fact pattern is either true and glorious or false and scurrilous depending on who states it."

Buffalo was a terrible tragedy, but it cannot be weaponized like this. No group has more openly discussed exploiting demographics and immigration for political gain than the Democratic Party, along with its liberal allies in the corporate media. So to their hypocrisy, Democrats now add an unfathomable level of gross cynicism.

Pedro L. Gonzalez is the associate editor at Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture.

The views expressed in this article are the writer's own.