The theory of the “great replacement”, now in law

The theory of the “great replacement”, now in law

We have learned that several people were killed by bears in the United States last year. We know that; there are many more missing people who may also have been killed by bears. We can assume that many people are killed by bears every year. We just don’t know how many.

That’s why lawmakers are considering a new law that would require all windows and doors in the United States to be fully bear-proofed. This will be a burden and will result in some people being unable to enter their homes. But probably not very many, and most of those will probably be people you don’t really like anyway.

Anyone who votes against this law should be considered a traitor and punishable by execution.

Oh, sorry. Not The Bill. Another bill that is much the same in scope and effect as our anti-bear legislation is the Save Act, more accurately known as the Safeguard American Voter Eligibility Act. A product of the far right of the House Republican Conference, the Save Act would require proof of citizenship when registering to vote. Like our anti-bear bill, it would make Americans’ lives harder while addressing a problem that is demonstrably not significant.

There’s a reason this is happening now. Donald Trump and House Speaker Mike Johnson (Republican of Louisiana) agreed this year to address the alleged surge of noncitizen voters – even though they are already barred by law from voting in federal elections. But “elections can be rigged” is one of the most important falsehoods in Trump’s rhetorical arsenal, closely followed by “immigrants are a danger to the United States.” So the idea that immigrants are illegally influencing elections is just too perfect to pass up.

This is especially true because it aligns with the increasingly normalized claim on the American political right that there is a deliberate effort to flood the country with immigrants who will vote for Democrats. This is essentially the theory of the “great replacement,” an idea popularized by Tucker Carlson and later prominent Republican politicians from the racial fringe. In promoting the Save Act, Johnson explicitly used the phrase “great replacement.”

“Why are Democrats so strongly opposed to allowing only American citizens to vote in our elections?” he wrote on the social media platform X. “They want to turn illegal immigrants into voters. To prevent that, we must pass the SAVE Act.”

Elon Musk, the owner of X, quoted Johnson’s post as saying, “The goal from the beginning was to import as many illegal voters as possible.” This was a significant downgrade from his statement the day after Independence Day, when he supported the Save Act.

“Anyone who opposes this is a traitor. In capital letters: TRAITOR,” Musk wrote. “What is the punishment for traitors again?”

So why not just pass the bill? What’s the downside? Well, it’s the same downside we see with our anti-bear legislation.

First, there is no evidence that noncitizen voting is a significant problem, let alone a regular occurrence. The Heritage Foundation, which for years has doggedly promoted the idea that voter fraud is widespread, has a database of proven voter fraud that contains fewer than 100 cases of noncitizen voting or voter registration since 2002—a period in which more than 678 million votes were cast in the presidential election alone.

Johnson said this during a press conference earlier this year. When asked how common such votes were, he responded with an objection.

“The answer is that there is no answer,” he said, adding, “That’s the problem.” But, he stressed, “we all know instinctively that many illegals vote in federal elections.”

And we all know instinctively that bear-related deaths are common.

There is no demonstrable problem that the law would solve. There are state-level safeguards against noncitizen voter registration and, as the White House pointed out when it opposed the law, there are severe penalties for noncitizens voting, including deportation and a permanent travel ban. And all for the benefit of being able to cast a vote.

What about the Save Act would But it will make it harder for people to vote. This is a key reason why the League of Women Voters opposes the bill. If voters are required to show documents when registering, voters without those documents will not register – even if they are eligible. Who are these people? Research published in January found that those without valid driver’s licenses tend to be young and non-white. In other words, they are often people who lean Democratic.

Win-win-win. Demonize immigrants, spread the idea that voter fraud is rampant, and make it harder for Democrats to vote. The Save Act is a nice little package of Republican interests.

A nice segue to mention that the anti-bear legislation is sponsored by Bearproof Doors Inc.