Goodbye CRT, Hello GRT: Democrats Link Opponents to Terrorists Through the ‘Great Replacement Theory’

Below is my column in the Hill on the new Democratic campaign to link criticism of illegal immigration to domestic terrorism. The effort is to make the Great Replacement Theory (GRT) a new catchphrase against political and media opponents. However, the effort to make GRT the new CRT is not gaining traction. The reason is that GRT sweeps broadly to include commentary on both the left and right.

Here is the column:

For more than a year, liberals have struggled to deal with conservative and parental outrage over critical race theory (CRT) being taught in public schools. This week, a new campaign seemed to emerge: Forget CRT, and fear GRT instead.

The “Great Replacement Theory” was the focus of a Senate Judiciary Committee hearing Tuesday, in which Democrats alleged that Republicans — and Fox News in particular — are “radicalizing” domestic terrorists with rhetoric opposing illegal immigration. (I testified at the hearing and, for full disclosure, I’m a Fox News contributor.)

Not only did Democratic senators tie GRT to the shooter in Buffalo, N.Y., but they compared the use of GRT to the rhetoric leading to genocide in other countries. Committee chairman Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) said the Buffalo shooting illustrated how “the ‘Great Replacement’ conspiracy theory … has fueled hateful acts of racist violence” and domestic terrorism.

The Buffalo shooter, Payton Gendron, left a rambling manifesto that raved about blacks, Jews, immigrants and the media, including attacks on Fox and other media personalities.

One committee witness, political science professor Robert A. Pape, claimed that Jan. 6 rioters were actually motivated by the replacement theory and that former President Donald Trump not only stressed GRT but that he is “more powerful today as a result of January 6th than he would have been without January 6th.”

There is no question that immigration conspiracy theories are all the rage with the alt right. Moreover, for decades, immigrants have been attacked by racists and extremists as diluting or destroying our country. My Sicilian mother used to describe going to bed as a child, seeing burning crosses near her home as a warning to her family and other immigrants in her small Ohio coal-mining town.

Now, Democrats are seeking, through the Domestic Terrorism Protection Act, to force the government to prioritize the investigation of white supremacists for domestic terrorism. Many of the provisions of the act are constitutional, but that prioritization runs afoul of our constitutional principle of the separation of powers.

The clear effort to link GRT to terrorism and, by extension, anyone who raises replacement objections — in other words, to use ideology as a basis for investigation — risks threatening free-speech rights. We have a long history of such abuses. For example, during the infamous Palmer Raids of 1919 and 1920, socialists, communists and anarchists were arrested due to their ideology alone.

The other problem is how one defines GRT. Immigration, both legal and illegal, has long been discussed in terms of how it changes the country’s demographics. Changing demographics has a political dimension which has been discussed on both the left and the right; last year, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) celebrated such changes and how “the demographics will weigh in politically.” Sen. Durbin said last year that “The demographics of America are not on the side of the Republican Party. The new voters in this country are moving away from them, and instead they’re moving to be independents or even vote on the other side.”

Liberal media sites like Politico also have discussed how new immigrants “would transform the nation’s political landscape for a generation or more — pumping as many as 11 million new Hispanic voters into the electorate a decade from now in ways that, if current trends hold, would produce an electoral bonanza for Democrats and cripple Republican prospects.”

These are obvious, appropriate observations — but they also make it more difficult to declare that any such references are not just racist but are encouraging terrorists.

With CRT, there is a tendency to over-extend the term to cover and delegitimize all race-based lesson plans. The same is true with GRT. Ironically, both terms are denounced as seeking to demonize opposing views, but they often are used for the same purpose in reverse.

Senators have every right to condemn those they believe are vilifying immigrants. The free speech concern occurs when senators call for “disrupting the pathways to radicalization” and for legislative action to deter such “radicalization” in the news or social media. Even a Democratic witness, former FBI agent Michael German, repeatedly cautioned against using ideology as a key element to determine who should be investigated. That decision should be based on risk, not ideology, he said.

Democrats raise legitimate concerns over extreme rhetoric on social media and how it radicalizes individuals. The solution, though, should not be limiting speech or investigating people based on their ideology.

As German explained, when he worked undercover he dealt with many ardent extremists, including white supremacists, who were nonviolent. The same is true for extreme groups on the left. I have been a vocal critic of antifa, one of our most violent anti-free speech movements, yet I opposed Republican moves to treat antifa as a terrorist organization for the same reasons.

The push to rally around opposition to GRT is notably occurring at a time when, according to the New York Times, Democrats seek to “recast the midterm message.” House Democrats, for example, hired a former ABC News executive to help stage this week’s primetime hearings on the Jan. 6 riot. We are now less than five months away from midterm elections that a CNN pollster predicts will be a historic disaster for Democrats. The New York Times reported that “Democrats argue the hearings will give them a platform for making a broader case about why they deserve to stay in power.” And, on MSNBC recently, Rep. Madeleine Dean (D-Pa.) agreed with John Heilemann that Democrats must “scare the crap out of [voters] and get them to come out.”

That approach would miss an opportunity for real compromise and real progress on violent extremism or gun violence. We do not need to “scare the crap” out of citizens — they are scared enough.

There were moments between the scares in Tuesday’s hearing when common ground seemed possible. In one of those, Garnell Whitfield Jr., whose mother, Ruth Whitfield, was among the 10 people shot and killed in Buffalo, gave a powerful, moving account of the deep loss of so many victims.

Tagging opposing media or opponents as fellow travelers with terrorists will do little to stop such terrible losses, however. It is even unlikely to stop electoral losses.

It may be too much to hope in an election year that we can unite around our constitutional values — but if we cannot build on our shared values, perhaps we can build on our shared suffering to put politics aside.

Jonathan Turley is the Shapiro Professor of Public Interest Law at George Washington University. Follow him on Twitter @JonathanTurley.

243 thoughts on “Goodbye CRT, Hello GRT: Democrats Link Opponents to Terrorists Through the ‘Great Replacement Theory’”

  1. If Joe Biden, Anderson Cooper or Richard Durbin talk about this in inevitable, approving tones it is something to be commended, if anyone else does so minus the approving tones or even notices it is happening, they are a ‘nazi’.

    In the words of Stacey Abrams:

    Sorry s@@tlibs, you can’t have it both ways and the cat is out of the bag. And I am neither a ‘nazi’ or any other slur you can think up. BTW – I happen to be Hispanic.


  2. Jonathan: It’s probably going to be a quiet and somber Thanksgiving this year at Mar-a-Lago–around the family dining room table. I’d love to be a fly on the wall watching Trump eye Ivanka and Jared–staring silently down at their plates: “How could you turn against me by voluntarily testifying before that kangaroo court? And, Ivanka, how could you side with that coward Bill Barr? And you and Jared did this even after I gave you those cushy jobs in my White House! You both know the election was stolen from me!”. You’ll probably be able to cut the tension with a knife. This is going to have all the earmarks of a Shakespeare tragedy

  3. “Remember, democracy never lasts long. It soon wastes, exhausts, and murders itself. There never was a democracy yet that did not commit suicide.”

    ― John Adams, The Works Of John Adams, Second President Of The United States

      1. RE:“Remember, democracy never lasts long…..”There’s a tendency for the citizenry to be sloppy about their understanding of our form of government. Cant blame them given the fact that the teaching of Civics through grade 12 had to be legislated into law in the State of Florida. Like necessary elsewhere. The U.S. isn’t a “pure democracy” in which every decision is put to a popular vote, but today scholars use the terms “democracy” and “republic” interchangeably to mean any government where power is invested in the people, whether it’s exercised directly by the people or by their elected representatives.

  4. “It may be too much to hope in an election year that we can unite around our constitutional values — but if we cannot build on our shared values, perhaps we can build on our shared suffering to put politics aside.”

    The world is really hurting. If one follows world events, Sri Lanka is in dire condition. They lack food, medical necessities and stability. Food inflation was 57% in May alone. The country is descending into chaos. This is only one example of what is happening outside the USA borders. The news is dire and the suffering is great!

    The suffering is beginning in this nation and the struggle for families is real. America’s role in world leadership cannot be underestimated. It’s absence is consequential. American families are down nearly 9000 dollars per year in buying power from a couple of years ago.

    What we have now is group of angry, narcissistic rich power seeking weirdos engaged in a personal feud. They are hell bent for leather to get revenge. The former President is just as obsessed. The current President is diminished and declining. He should be enjoying retirement in the nest he feathered for forty-five years.

    The press sold their soul to the man at the crossroads and play along with the charade. For what? Let’s not forget the über elites who gather every year in Switzerland to plot world domination.

    What bizarre, surreal and shameful behavior. The “thought” leaders of the world have really consumed the Kool-Aide. Jim Jones would be proud.

    The folks wake up every day to this craziness that is being forced on the rank and file citizen of this nation and world. Instead of uniting this nation for the good of mankind and humanity, they have purposely chosen division to weaken the nation and push their “build back better” agenda. .

    “I don’t make jokes. I just watch the the government and report the facts.” Will Rogers

    1. The world is really hurting. If one follows world events, Sri Lanka is in dire condition. They lack food, medical necessities and stability. Food inflation was 57% in May alone.

      Sri Lanka is a great example of the Democrat Party in the United States. Democrat Party agendas are meant to enslave the people.

      All food insecurity is precipitated by Government actions and decisions.

      Faced with a deepening economic and humanitarian crisis, Sri Lanka called off an ill-conceived national experiment in organic agriculture this winter. Sri Lankan President Gotabaya Rajapaksa promised in his 2019 election campaign to transition the country’s farmers to organic agriculture over a period of 10 years. Last April, Rajapaksa’s government made good on that promise, imposing a nationwide ban on the importation and use of synthetic fertilizers and pesticides and ordering the country’s 2 million farmers to go organic.

      1. We are, unfortunately, headed that way. It will be interesting how people will react. We now live in world where everything is instant. We are only three generations past the Great Depression. Why turn on the stove? If the food supply chain slips off the gears one time too many, there will be mass chaos. If those pushing radical change get their way, we might be reduced to eating Soylent Green.

  5. One of the drawbacks of democracy: politicians do NOT do the right thing because they CAN be voted out of office for doing it, and they don’t want to be voted out of office, so the wrong thing continues.

  6. here are people who want different things from what you want. They are allowed to do that. It’s America, after all.

  7. Would it be in America’s interest to see the Americanization of Ukraine instead of the Russification of Ukraine?

  8. MEDIATITE considered this a plus for Geraldo Rivera in a verbal sparring match with Jeanine Pirro.”“Seventeen million Americans out of work are not going to go back to picking lettuce or go back to the meat packing plant or the poultry processing plant!” Rivera shot back, alluding to studies of “displacement effect” that have found almost no actual impact to native-born workers”. Rivera often puts this argument in his defense of immigration polices. He abhors the word ‘illegal’. It happens to be in the language of the Federal Law, not being vigorously enforced by Biden, which describes individuals who enter this country unlawfully. What I have always read into his comments in that regard, whenever he’s made them, is that this nation requires these individuals from across the border to do the work US citizens deem beneath them and refuse to do, unemployment notwithstanding. That has been the case for decades. The reason the United Farm Workers came into existence. However, seasonal agricultural workers on permit have legal standing to be here. The others do not. One wonders, in the absence of theCOVID-19 Stimulus Checks, and other relief, would the lettuce fields and the slaughter houses have been an acceptable alternative to starvation. Should the seekers of a new life and opportunity be obliged to harvest our crops, butcher our livestock and poultry, and clean our hotel room toilets because US citizens will not?

  9. Barr testified that he quit as AG partly because he did not wish to perpetuate the BS of Trump’s election conspiracy theories, but his resignation letter gives an altogether contrary impression.

    Don’t expect Turley to point out this glaring inconsistency. As we know, Turley is loyal to his friends to a fault.

    1. DearMr.President,

      ” I am proud to have played a role in the many successes and unprecedented achievements you have delivered for the American people. Your record is all the more historic because you accomplished it in the face of relentless, implacable resistance.”

      ” You built the strongest and most resilient economy in American history – one that has brought unprecedented progress to those previously left out. You have restored American military strength. By brokering historic peace deals in the Mideast you have achieved what most thought impossible. You have curbed illegal immigration and enhanced the security of our nation’s borders. You have advanced the rule of law by appointing a record number of judges committed to constitutional principles. With Operation Warp Speed, you delivered a vaccine for coronavirus on a schedule no one thought conceivable “_William Barr

  10. The crazy people voted for the crazy man to accomplish these crazy things:

    – War in Ukraine

    – Dow down 771 today at 31,501.

    – Inflation at 9.7%.

    – Gasoline at $9.60 in CA.

    – Oil drilling leases reduced

    – Oil pipeline cancelled

    – Border wall stopped

    – Illegal invasion by illegal aliens due to dereliction in securing the border as a crime of high office by Biden.

    – 12,000 illegal alien invaders heading to America.

    – Baby formula missing

  11. If a nation allows crazy people to vote, crazy people get elected.


    That happened.

  12. “Joke Biden Has No Brain”

    This expression is less allegory and more fact describing a situation “…in which people are afraid to criticize something or someone because the perceived wisdom of the masses is that the thing or person is good or important.

  13. “The Emperor Has No Clothes”

    This expression is used to describe a situation in which people are afraid to criticize something or someone because the perceived wisdom of the masses is that the thing or person is good or important.

  14. “That approach would miss an opportunity for real compromise and real progress on violent extremism or gun violence.”

    Good grief. The Dems are not really about that, they are about power & control.

  15. No wonder the Left hate Dershowitz


    1. Dershowitz is consistant. Always siding with the Constitution.

      This is the type of statement that leaves leftist twisting. They insist he is a “Trumpist”, but as Derschowitz has explained. He have never defended President Trump. Just the constitution, which is always supports President Trump’s positions.

      1. There was a young Hispanic Mom in Uvilda (sic) Tx that had her 2 boys, 8-12yrs?, that were inside the school.

        Sees the cops standing around outside doing nothing & the shooter was still inside. It went on with them standing around for 60-80 minutes I heard reported.

        Bang….. Bang…. Bang….etc

        The cops tell her she can’t go in, there were words, pissed, she just walked in & got her kids out of that school, unharmed.

        I think that’s the kind of American Spirit of over coming obstacles in life.

        It was citizen’s legally owned gun that took out the Nut Job.

        The Police Chief is said to be Commie Dim & Biden supporter.

        A complete report hasn’t been released yet.

    1. The guy was not armed. It seems he was easy to deal with because he was not carrying a deadly weapon. The sad reality is kids today live under the threat of gun violence because the over saturation of guns in this country makes the chances of a school shooting so great. The solution, keep saturating the country with more.

      1. because the over saturation of guns in this country
        Is that saturated or polyunsaturated?

  16. The United States has in many ways become a more inclusive society in the last six decades, but the only political lesson that progressive neoliberals seem to have drawn is that building consensus with benighted Middle Americans and racist Southerners is hopelessly beneath them. Ironing out a federal legislative compromise in which access to abortion would be guaranteed under some circumstances but not others is a task the baby boomer left has always seen as unworthy of their station as America’s designated savior class. To them, conservatives—or even just apolitical normies in flyover land—are pigs, fools, and torch-bearing fascists in waiting.

    The moral they read into McGovern’s titanic defeat was never that they share a country with lots of people who disagree with them; it was that there’s no point in ever trying to engage with the Rust Belt’s Germanic, class-oriented political culture, or the unrefined traditionalism of the evangelical South. Better to hire armies of highly educated attorneys to work their magic through the justice system and avoid the difficulties of the legislative process entirely than to reach out to the hicks. Southern and Middle American plebs would complain, of course, but the supposedly favorable demographic changes brought on by immigration would provide an out in the not so distant future. All progressives needed to do was run out the clock while awaiting their final victory.

  17. Maybe there were other ideas in their heads that were worse.

    Jan. 6 Bombshell: Schumer team received FBI intel about possible violence, frontline cops didn’t

    Capitol Police executive’s email tipoff to Schumer aide night before riot raises concerns in Congress that politics put over security.

    “Key Republican members of Congress told Just the News on Thursday they had been unaware of Gallagher’s tip-off to the Schumer aide and said it provided further evidence that the House Jan. 6 committee, which unveiled prime-time hearings Thursday night, had constricted an investigation to shield Schumer and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi from accountability for the botched security they oversaw.:

  18. From PolitiFact:

    Fox News host Tucker Carlson didn’t just ignore the first primetime House hearing dedicated to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol. He spent the show rehashing many of the same falsehoods about the attack he has promoted for months.

    As other major TV networks carried the June 9 hearing live, Fox News stuck to its regular lineup of pro-Trump opinion hosts while delegating live coverage to the less popular Fox Business Network and streaming platform.

    “We’re not playing along,” Carlson said at the opening of his show. “This is the only hour on an American news channel that will not be carrying their propaganda live. They are lying.”

    Carlson and fellow host Sean Hannity ran hour-long shows with no commercial breaks and featured guests who have promoted discredited theories around the day. Laura Ingraham, host of the 10 p.m. slot on Fox News, went to commercial a few times.

    Carlson, perhaps the most conspicuous promoter of falsehoods downplaying the attack, dismissed the Capitol insurrection as a “footnote” in American history.

    The hearings Fox didn’t air included revelations about its own hosts. Committee vice chair Rep. Liz Cheney, R-Wyo., highlighted texts from Hannity to White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Jan. 7 calling for “no more stolen election talk.”

    Aly Colón, a professor of media ethics at Washington and Lee University, said Fox News’ decision to ignore the hearing represented a “breach” in terms of informing its audience.

    “It leaves that audience not able to witness, at this stage, what other points of view are being advanced in the space,” said Colón.

    How Tucker Carlson, others covered the hearing
    As committee leaders described how former President Donald Trump fought to remain in power and encouraged the mob, Carlson ran a chyron calling the hearing a “moral lecture.” The Capitol attack was a “forgettably minor” incident of violence, Carlson said.

    Carlson falsely suggested that President Joe Biden could not possibly have received millions more votes than President Barack Obama and espoused suspicion about votes counted after Election Day, arguing it justified the rioters’ anger. (Fact-check.)

    He once again claimed that the attack was “not an insurrection” and downplayed the role of white supremacists. He claimed “not a single person in the crowd that day was found to be carrying a firearm,” even as court documents show several rioters had firearms and dozens more wielded knives, bats and other real and makeshift weapons. He claimed Ashli Babbitt, the woman fatally shot by police as she tried to force her way further into the Capitol, “posed no conceivable threat to anyone.” He suggested that a man named Ray Epps was proof of FBI involvement, even though Epps told House investigators he has no FBI ties and other evidence undercuts the conspiracy theories surrounding him.

    Carlson misleadingly claimed that police let the rioters inside the building, focusing on one video from a day-long event that saw the rioters fight through police lines and assault about 140 officers. He suggested that early media reports that got details wrong about the death of Capitol Police Officer Brian Sicknick were proof that everything the media has said was a lie.

    “What we are going to do is try to get to the truth,” Carlson said. “To do that, we’ve assembled a bunch of very knowledgeable people who know a lot more than they’re telling you on the other channels about what happened on Jan. 6.”

    Carlson’s lineup included several right-wing media personalities whose blog sites have spread false claims about the 2020 election and the Jan. 6 insurrection, such as Julie Kelly of the website American Greatness, Sean Davis of the Federalist, and Darren Beattie of Revolver News.

    Beattie, a former White House speechwriter who was fired in 2018 after appearing on a panel with a white nationalist, played a starring role in “Patriot Purge,” Carlson’s three-part film that sought to recast Jan. 6, 2021, as a FBI-led false-flag attack meant to frame, trap and “purge” Trump voters in a “new war on terror.”

    Beattie and Carlson issued similar warnings on Carlson’s show June 9.

    “He speeds through a litany of information, questions and commentary, leaving viewers dazzled but dizzy,” Colón said. “The content matters less than the delivery. It reinforces what his viewers already believe.”

    These themes have dominated Fox News in the 17 months since the attack. According to the Washington Post, Fox News segments referenced Jan. 6, the House select committee, or the Capitol riot far less than CNN and MSNBC. Mentions of antifa — the coalition of left-wing activists falsely blamed, including by Fox News hosts, for carrying out the attack on the Capitol — appeared far more often on Fox News.

    When Carlson handed off to Hannity, the focus turned to criticizing the committee.

    Hannity went off on the “sham committee,” saying it did not allow pro-Trump lawmakers to participate. In reality, House Minority Leader Kevin McCarthy, R-Calif., withdrew all Republican nominees to the committee after Speaker Nancy Pelosi, D-Calif., rejected two members who embraced Trump’s false election claims. Pelosi named Cheney and Rep. Adam Kinzinger, R-Ill., to the panel.

    Hannity argued that the committee’s focus should have been on the day’s security failures. He shifted the blame for the attack away from Trump and toward Pelosi, repeating unsubstantiated claims that Pelosi rejected Trump’s request for thousands of National Guard troops at the Capitol.

    Ingraham, whose show picked up minutes after the committee adjourned, said the hearings were structured in part to “distract you from Biden’s many failures” and boost Democrats’ midterm prospects.

    She and her guests also downplayed the significance of the Capitol attack, and compared it to the recent arrest of an armed man near Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh’s house.

    “There wasn’t a single serious person in D.C. who believed that Biden wasn’t going to be sworn in as president on Jan. 20,” Ingraham said.

    PolitiFact staff writer Grace Abels contributed research to this article.

      1. NUTCHACHACHA is a dependent parasite, sucking at the teat of the American taxpayer, who votes democrat For the Benefit Of NUTCHACHACHA, expanding her infinitely quantum “free stuff.”

        They said they wanted “free-dom,” what they really wanted was “free-stuff” by the truck load.

        Hey, it’s free, why not?

        “[We gave you] a [restricted-vote] republic, if you can keep it.”

        – Ben Franklin

        “the people are nothing but a great beast…

        I have learned to hold popular opinion of no value.”

        – Alexander Hamilton

        “The true reason (says Blackstone) of requiring any qualification, with regard to property in voters, is to exclude such persons, as are in so mean a situation, that they are esteemed to have no will of their own.”

        “If it were probable that every man would give his vote freely, and without influence of any kind, then, upon the true theory and genuine principles of liberty, every member of the community, however poor, should have a vote… But since that can hardly be expected, in persons of indigent fortunes, or such as are under the immediate dominion of others, all popular states have been obliged to establish certain qualifications, whereby, some who are suspected to have no will of their own, are excluded from voting; in order to set other individuals, whose wills may be supposed independent, more thoroughly upon a level with each other.”

        – Alexander Hamilton, The Farmer Refuted, 1775

  19. Poor Democrats will be replaced on mass by the Republicans in November. That’s a Great Replacement Fact…not a theory.

    1. The Grand Ol’ Resolution of the Derelict National Committee for diversity [dogma] (e.g. racism, sexism, ageism), progressive prices (e.g. Obamacares), [catastrophic] [anthropogenic] immigration reform, the green Green deal (e.g. unreliables, unaffordables, labor and environmental arbitrage), transgender conversion therapy, Mengele mandates, and, of course, bitter clingers to the wicked solution (e.g. planned parenthood, planned parent/hood) for social, redistributive, clinical, and fair weather causes.

Comments are closed.