August 14, 2022

A Theory In Need Of Replacement

By Stephen Tuttle | Oct. 9, 2021

Thank goodness we have yet another conspiracy theory afloat among the far right. They like to call this one the Great Replacement Theory, allegedly being promulgated by the usual suspects: progressives, the Clintons, the Obamas and the omnipresent George Soros.

Replacement theory goes like this: The far left is encouraging unlimited immigration on the premise those immigrants and their offspring will become Democrat-voting citizens who will then replace “legacy Americans” (seemingly white folks of European descent) as the primary voting bloc and, ultimately, in the seats of power, where they can unleash their Socialist agenda. 

This would require considerably more forward thinking than Democrat capabilities even make possible, but we'll get to that in a minute.

This is not the first time we've seen immigrants or minorities become the targets of this kind of fear-mongering for political advantage. Call it replacement theory or something else, it's all cut from the same xenophobic cloth. It usually starts with the old canard that immigrants will be taking the jobs of “real Americans,” though that has hardly ever been the case.

In the early part of the 20th century, when we were encouraging European immigration, we had the nativists who swore immigrants would destroy America as we knew it. Italians, Poles, Irish, Italians and Asians all took their turns as targets. But they destroyed nothing, helped build our industrial might, and there were plenty of jobs left over.   

In the 1930s in Germany and Italy, it was Jews, intellectuals and others who were the alleged big threat. A popular article written by Benito Mussolini in 1934, “Is the White Race Dying,” helped popularize the notion that “undesirables,” mostly immigrants, were replacing native Italians. The National Socialist German Workers' Party meetings occasionally chanted, “Jews will not replace us.”

(Grotesquely, that same chant was heard at the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017 just before a murderer plowed his car into counter demonstrators, killing a woman and injuring several others.)  

Anti-immigrant rhetoric was also popular in the 1960s, the 1970s, the 1980s after President Ronald Reagan's amnesty program, and every decade since. There isn't any evidence those immigrants replaced anybody, because their employment was almost always in addition to -- not as a replacement for -- those already employed.

Now, polemicists like Tucker Carlson are promulgating the same anti-immigrant rhetoric under the guise of this generation's version of replacement theory, with a conspiracy added as a bonus. It's no less offensive or as likely than previous iterations of the same unpleasantness.

And that replacement business? That's going to take some time and real patience on the part of the conspirators. 

Once a legal immigrant enters the country on some type of visa, they can work or visit or attend school, but they are a long way from citizenship. They first need a green card, and it will take a couple years just for that to become available, probably another year for processing under the best of circumstances (longer if the applicant is from Mexico, China, India or the Philippines). A green card holder can then apply for citizenship after five more years (three if married to a U.S. citizen) if they have jumped through every hoop and avoided any hint of legal trouble.  

So, if everything proceeds as quickly as possible, it will be eight years before the political part of the replacement theory comes to fruition, because it will take at least that long for an immigrant to become a citizen eligible to vote. 

The part of the conspiracy that involves immigrants, legal and otherwise, reproducing their way to dominance and thereby achieving replacement, will take even longer, because they can't vote until they’re 18.

The idea that progressives or Democrats have ever been able to plan anything that far in advance is just laughable. They rarely plan five days in the future, much less five years.

One need look no further than the current Democrat dysfunction to understand how absurd assigning some sort of organized replacement theory to their devious planners really is. They can't even figure out how to pass badly needed legislation to start replacing and repairing our deteriorating infrastructure despite overwhelming public support. Why? Because the absolutist progressive wing of the party insists on connecting it to a budget reconciliation bill that includes all kinds of free goodies they want, like free pre-K, free community college tuition, paid family leave, and much more. But they don't have the votes they need. Moderates want the bills to be decided separately, while progressives insist on connectivity. They're too busy fighting each other now to conspire to control the future.

It's the theory, now being pushed by cynical fear mongers, that needs replacing.


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