May 16, 2022 | Reading Time: 4 minutes
‘Hate and a gun’
This weekend, the GOP's three-legged stool was in full view.
Three things happened this weekend.
They are connected.
Together, they are the GOP’s three-legged stool.
First, several high-profile Republicans, including the No. 3 House leader, accused the president of giving preferential treatment to undocumented Americans at the expense of “native” white Americans.
The administration provides baby formula to mothers detained at the US-Mexican border while they see through the deportation process. (Baby formula is scarce due to issues relating to trade, monopoly and the covid pandemic. The national shortage is reaching crisis levels.)
New York Congresswoman Elise Stefanik, chair of the GOP conference, alleged on Twitter that “Joe Biden continues to put America last by shipping pallets of baby formula to the southern border as American families face empty shelves. This is unacceptable. American mothers and their babies shouldn’t suffer because of the #BidenBorderCrisis.”
The rightwingers cannot trust democracy until they are certain “demographic change,” which the Democrats love to talk about, has been stopped. They can’t trust democracy until there are enough white people around to make sure white people are still in charge.
In September, the representative ran a series of ads on Facebook accusing “radical Democrats” of “planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION. Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
The second thing that happened this weekend was tens of thousands of women, mostly white, demonstrating in Washington and other major American cities to protest the Supreme Court’s imminent ruling that will almost certainly strike down Roe. Organizers say the marches preview a “summer of rage” happening before the midterm elections.
Buffalo’s is getting the most attention.
The shooter is an 18-year-old white supremacist from rural New York. His semi-automatic rifle was emblazoned with the n-word as well as the names of notorious white terrorists: Anders Breivik (Norway, 2011), Dylann Roof (Charleston, 2015), Robert Bowers (Pittsburgh, 2018), Brenton Tarrant (New Zealand, 2019) and John Earnest (El Paso, 2019).
Payton Gendron went to an eastside Tops, a grocery store not far from where I lived in the 1990s. Of the 13 people he killed and injured, 11 were Black. He’s in custody. He was arraigned Saturday on a charge of first-degree murder. Hate-crime felony charges are likely forthcoming.
Two days beforehand, Gendron posted online what appears to be a manifesto. According Ben Collins, who covers rightwing extremism for NBC News, it “laid out specific plans to attack Black people and repeatedly cited the ‘great replacement’ theory, the false idea that a cabal is attempting to replace white Americans with nonwhite people through immigration, interracial marriage and, eventually, violence.”
Collins wrote that, “the manifesto includes dozens of pages antisemitic and racist memes, repeatedly citing the racist ‘great replacement’ conspiracy theory frequently pushed by white supremacists, which falsely claims white people are being ‘replaced’ in America as part of an elaborate Jewish conspiracy theory. Other memes use tropes and discredited data to denigrate the intelligence of nonwhite people.”
Three things happened this weekend. They are connected.
The “great replacement theory” is the link.
More precisely, democracy is.
Democracy in the 21st century isn’t yielding results the rightwingers want. It produced the first Black president. It produced his reelection.
The rightwingers cannot trust democracy until they are certain that “demographic change,” which the Democrats love to talk about, has been stopped. They can’t trust democracy until there are enough white people around to make sure white people are still in charge.
The three-legged stool of the Republican Party.
The stool animates the rightwing imagination. It animates the Republican incumbents running for reelection. It animates a third of Americans who believe “an effort is underway” by the Democratic Party “to replace U.S.-born Americans with immigrants for electoral gains,” according to a recent AP poll. It animated a white terrorist.
On immigration – stop it.
Stop all of it, even legal immigration. The more nonwhite people, Muslims and Jews in America, the more risk there is to white power.
On guns – more of them in more white hands.
Rightwingers can’t get rid of Black people and Latinos who were born here or immigrated years ago, but they can terrorize or (legally) lynch them. More guns in more white hands overlaps with police officers who already serve an unspoken mandate to control nonwhite people.
On abortion – more white babies.
Most of the women who get abortions are white. By forcing them to give birth, the rightwing attempts to “repopulate” the country so that, over the years, there are more white people who can vote. Only at that point can the rightwingers return to trusting American democracy.
Gendron’s manifesto spells it out: “If there’s one thing I want you to get from these writings, it’s that White birth rates must change. Everyday the White population is fewer in number. To maintain a population, the people must achieve a birth rate that replacement fertility levels.”
It also says “critical race theory” a rightwing talking point that has come to “encompass teaching about race in school, is part of a Jewish plot, and a reason to justify mass killings of Jews,” Collins wrote.
When Virginia Governor Glenn Youngkin said “CRT, CRT, CRT,” his voters didn’t hear anything about education or even children. What they heard was that the Democrats are trying to replace them. What they heard was a plan for “PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION.”
This weekend, the three-legged stool was in full view.
Few Americans believed it beforehand.
A “white supremacist killed my mother and other family members,” the Rev. Sharon Risher said Saturday. “Again, we deal with death because of hate and a gun. Thoughts and prayers won’t cut it. Something must be done! Can I count on you to help change this narrative?”
When democracy betrayed the rightwing, where did they turn?
Not to democracy, but to hate and a gun.
Will more Americans believe it now?
John Stoehr is the editor of the Editorial Board. He writes the daily edition. Find him @johnastoehr.