U.S. flag behind caged bars
Molly Butler / Media Matters

Research/Study Research/Study

As the election ramps up, right-wing media increasingly turn to racist and antisemitic “great replacement” conspiracy theory

  • As Americans prepare to cast their votes in the 2024 presidential primaries, former President Donald Trump engages in more xenophobic rhetoric, and Republicans are calling to shut down the southern border, right-wing media are heavily promoting the “great replacement” conspiracy theory, claiming migrants are “invaders” who are being “imported” by Democrats to “replace” Americans and “destroy Western civilization.” 

  • Right-wing media have perpetuated the “great replacement” theory many times, but are now aggressively pushing it ahead of the 2024 election

    • The “great replacement” theory is a white nationalist conspiracy theory that nonwhite people are replacing white people in the United States and other predominantly white countries, specifically through immigration. The theory pins responsibility on a class of global elites, among which many Democrats are supposedly counted, for ushering in a population that threatens “the political power and culture of white people.” Some subscribers of the theory also use antisemitic rhetoric to “blame Jewish figures” for replacement. It has also been cited as an inspiration for numerous acts of mass violence, inspiring both the El Paso and Christchurch mass shootings in 2019, and the Buffalo supermarket shooting in 2022. [PBS NewsHour, 5/16/22; The New York Times, 8/7/2019; Media Matters, 12/5/23; National Immigration Forum, accessed 1/10/24, The Washington Post, 5/25/2022]
    • Right-wing discussion of the topic has seemingly ramped up as the country heads into an election year, Trump’s Nazi-esque rhetoric on migrants continues, and hardline GOP House members push for draconian border control measures in budget talks. Trump, who has support from many right-wing media figures talking about the theory, has claimed that immigrants are “poisoning the blood” of the U.S. and that the Biden administration is allowing “the invasion of millions” of illegal immigrants in the country and are “signing them up to vote.” [NPR, 12/13/23; NBC News, 12/17/23; Roll Call, 1/9/24; Intelligencer, 1/9/24]
  • Right-wing media figures have been baselessly claiming that Democrats are bringing migrants into the U.S. to become their voting bloc

    • Fox News host Jesse Watters rhetorically asked, “How soon will the migrants and their children be voting Democrat?” Watters also alleged that “foreign-born population skyrocketed the second Biden took office” which is the “biggest acceleration in the history of the United States.” [Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 12/01/23]
    • Fox News contributor Newt Gingrich claimed that Democrats will “demand that [migrants] be allowed to vote even though they are here illegally.” Gingrich referred to this as a “deliberate” policy “to maximize the number of people who come in.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 12/20/23]
    • Right-wing commentator and National Review editor Deroy Murdock alleged that Democrats “hope” that migrants “will be voting and at least 51% of them will be voting Democrat.” Murdock went on to claim, “The entire intention is to bring in what they consider to be the next margin of victory." [Fox News, The Story with Martha MacCallum, 1/3/24]
    • OAN host Dan Ball claimed that the Biden “regime” is committed to “replacing the electorate by allowing millions of illegals in.” [OAN, Real America with Dan Ball, 1/5/24]  
    • Right-wing podcaster Erick Erickson posted that he’s “decided to embrace” the “Great Replacement” theory because Democrats “need the numbers to offset GOP gains in the Electoral College.” [Twitter/X, 1/11/24]
    • Right-wing political operative Ned Ryun wildly claimed that Democrats have created border issues in order to “systematically destroy our sovereignty and our border to import new Democratic voters.” Ryun also said that Democrats are doing this to “achieve single party rule.” [Fox News, The Ingraham Angle, 1/8/24]
  • Right-wing figures have been fearmongering that migrants will “invade” the U.S. and “destroy” and “devalue” its culture

    • Former Trump adviser Stephen Miller argued that the U.S. is being “conquered” by migrants in a “complete resettlement of America in real time.”[Fox News, Jesse Watters Primetime, 12/19/23]
    • TheBlaze’s Steve Deace posted, “If the invasion we are permitting at our southern border isn’t a replacement, then what is it?” [Twitter/X, 1/9/24]
    • Former Fox host Tucker Carlson claimed that “tens of millions of young men” “without jobs” and “without the English language” will “never leave” the U.S. Carlson threatened that because of this, the U.S. “will be completely different in 10 years and 30 years from now it’ll be unrecognizable.” [SiriusXM, The Megyn Kelly Show, 12/11/23
    • Trump co-defendant Rudy Giuliani said that Biden “wants to destroy the American culture by bringing in people from all over the world that don't speak English, don't understand America, in many cases, hate America.” [Streamed on youtube, America's Mayor Live, 12/18/23
    • Newsmax host Eric Bolling claimed, “More invaders are coming across the United States border than are being born in America.” Bolling also referenced the great replacement conspiracy theory saying that “they want these invaders here to provide them with eventual Democrat votes.” [Newsmax, Eric Bolling The Balance, 1/4/24]
    • War Room co-host Natalie Winters ranted that immigration is a “master plan to devalue American citizenship.” Winters also alleged that it’s part of a scheme of “replacing America on the global … world stage.” [OAN, In Focus with Alison Steinberg, 1/3/24
    • Turning Point USA’s Charlie Kirk stated that “the goal is to destroy Western civilization, get rid of anything that the white man might have been responsible for.” [Salem Media Group, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/8/24
    • Kirk also claimed that Democrats are trying to replace “you on the border” to get rid of American “traditions,” “heritage,” and “history.” [Salem Media Group, The Charlie Kirk Show, 1/8/24]