The “Great Replacement” Conspiracy Theory
From The Fringe Of White Supremacist Circles
To The Mainstream
The “Great Replacement” is one of the most dangerous white supremacist conspiracy theories out there. While it has floated around in racist echo chambers for quite some time, today — from Fox News (owned by Australian-born media mogul Rupert Murdoch) to the mouths of politicians around the globe — it’s everywhere. And as far-right figures mainstream this dangerous, white supremacist theory, the mass casualty attacks inspired by it continue to mount.
What is “The Great Replacement” and why is it dangerous?
The Great Replacement conspiracy theory is a white supremacist, xenophobic, and anti-immigrant concept that posits white people are being replaced by immigrants, Muslims, and other people of color in their so-called “home” countries. The conspiracy often blames the “elite” and Jews for orchestrating these changing demographics. The Great Replacement was conceived of by a Frenchman, Renaud Camus, who popularized the idea in his 2011 book Le Grand Remplacement. The concept spread like wildfire in Europe, particularly through the sprawling transnational white supremacist group Generation Identity and its social media accounts.
Believers in the Great Replacement have been responsible for an astounding number of mass casualty terrorist attacks across the globe in recent years. They include:
- 2017 violence during white supremacist riots in Charlottesville, Virginia, where racists chanted “Jews will not replace us” and “you will not replace us.” One anti-racist activist was murdered in a car-ramming attack and dozens were injured.
- 2018 attack on the Tree of Life synagogue in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where the shooter was targeting the offices of HIAS, a Jewish agency that for decades has worked to resettle refugees. Eleven people were murdered.
- 2019 shooting at an El Paso, Texas, Walmart, which the gunman specifically chose in the hopes of finding a large population of Latin American immigrants. Twenty-three people were murdered.
- 2019 shooting at a Poway, California, synagogue, which the gunman chose because he believed Jews were planning a “genocide” of Europeans. One person was murdered. He had earlier set an Escondido, California, mosque on fire.
- 2019 Christchurch, New Zealand, mosque attacks, where the gunman was targeting Muslims whom he believed did not belong in the country. Fifty-one people were murdered.
- 2019 Halle, Germany, synagogue attack, where the gunman was targeting a Yom Kippur event at which 52 people were present. Unable to enter the synagogue, the gunman murdered a passerby and a man in a kebab shop.
- 2020 attacks on two Shisha bars in Hanau, Germany, which the gunman targeted because immigrants frequented them. Nine people were murdered.
- 2022 Buffalo, New York, shooting at a supermarket. The gunman was racist and antisemitic and believed in the Great Replacement. Ten people were murdered.
Great Replacement Used to Demonize Immigrants
The Great Replacement’s arguments became better known throughout the US when white supremacists, including Richard Spencer, yelled “you will not replace us” and “Jews will not replace us” during the 2017 racist Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. It’s also been used by white supremacists in protest of taking down Confederate monuments. Other prominent American white supremacist groups, such as American Renaissance and Vdare, have spread the theory’s ideas, and in May 2022 it was cited in the alleged Buffalo, New York, shooter’s manifesto as the reason for his murderous attack.
The Great Replacement conspiracy theory’s talking points have also been used to drum up fear among white voters that they are intentionally being replaced by new voters in a plot to destroy their political power and erase their culture and values. To stoke this fear, the Great Replacement’s advocates spread unfounded and hateful anti-immigrant and anti-refugee sentiment across the globe, often using warlike language by speaking of an orchestrated invasion of the United States and other countries.
Such fearmongering has increasingly come from mainstream political figures. Former President Donald Trump repeatedly demonized immigrants, calling Mexicans rapists on the first day of his 2015 campaign and warning of an invasion from the South. Such arguments have been used to justify voter suppression tactics and laws that make voting more difficult.
In recent years, additional prominent figures on the far right have been spreading the theory into the mainstream. Stephen Miller, Steve Bannon, and others on the far-right have spread these white nationalist and anti-immigrant talking points. Bannon even asserted that one of his favorite books is The Camp of the Saints, long beloved and sold by white supremacists and a fictional depiction of a violent, murderous invasion of France by South Asian migrants. More recently, the executive director for Turning Point USA, a group known for its connections to racists, Charlie Kirk said “Biden intentionally let Afghanistan fall because he ‘wants a couple hundred thousand more Ilhan Omars to come into America to change the body politic permanently.’”
Moving toward the mainstream, Tucker Carlson and Laura Ingraham have used the racist Great Replacement talking points numerous times on their shows, which is particularly troubling because they reach millions of viewers. But they are not the only ones to blame for Great Replacement talking points moving from the fringes into the mainstream.
Sadly, this fearmongering has found fertile ground. A May 2022 AP poll found that one-third of those polled believed “an effort is afoot to replace native-born Americans with new immigrants for electoral purposes.”
Politicians Use This Racist Conspiracy Theory To Spread Hate and Undermine Democracy
Brian Babin, US Rep (TX)
“We know what the Democrats are up to. To open borders, this is exactly their strategy. They want to replace the American electorate with a Third World electorate that will be on welfare, public assistance, put them on a path to citizenship and amnesty, and franchise them with the vote, and they will have a permanent majority.”
Democrats “want to change America, they want to replace the American electorate with third-world immigrants that are coming in illegally, many of them are COVID positive.”
Jim Banks, US Rep (IN)
“If Title 42 ends, illegal immigrants will account for most of America’s population growth next year. A major win for Joe Biden, and a major loss for America.”
Dennis Baxley, State Senate (FL)
“When you get a birth rate less than two percent, that society is disappearing. And it’s being replaced by folks that come behind them and immigrate, don’t wish to assimilate into that society and they do believe in having children. So you see that there are long-range impacts to your society when the answer is to exterminate.”
Lauren Boebert, US Rep (CO)
“The truth is, they want borders wide open…It helped Democrats take over the entire state of California…We have to take our country back.”
Michael Cloud, US Rep (TX)
“This is a complete dereliction of duty. Without Title 42, our Border Patrol officers will experience an illegal immigrant surge at record-shattering levels. The Biden administration knows this, and they’re complicit in this continued invasion.”
Dan Crenshaw, US Rep (TX)
“Can we all stop…pretending that thinking this administration, and frankly the entire democrat party, have any intention of solving the border crisis. We must stop pretending as if this isn’t purposeful. Because it is. When every single policy measure that you partake in results in more illegal immigration, well then it stands to reason, using the powers of the Dutch, that maybe you want more illegal immigration… Let’s stop pretending that this isn’t just a giant scam…Let’s stop pretending that this isn’t getting exceedingly dangerous for us.”
Ted Cruz, US Senator (TX)
“The millions of illegal aliens pouring into America are a result of a cynical political decision by Biden, Harris, and Congressional Democrats. They believe each illegal alien is a potential Democrat voter. Sadly, the carnage is worth it to Biden and his party.”
Beth Van Duyne, US Rep (TX)
Steve Erdman, state Senator (NE)
“[We have] not grown except those foreigners who have moved here or refugees who have been placed here … because we’ve killed 200,000 people. These are people we killed.”
Brian Flowers, US Rep candidate (MS)
“The immigrant invasion is sure to make matters worse, sooner or later, and since the flow is unlikely to stop unless people such as Brian Flowers are elected to Congress, the inner cities won’t be able to hold all those Biden-allied criminals. Will they come to your middle-class neighborhood? Will they swarm your gated community? Will they cruise your country road looking for targets of opportunity? You can bet they will!”
Matt Gaetz, US Rep (FL)
“There is an attempted cultural genocide going on in America right now. It calls for patriots to stand up and say that America is a great country worthy of our pride and our defense.“
Steve Gaynor, gubernatorial candidate (AZ)
“I am incensed that Mr. Biden is sending American soldiers and tax dollars to shore up the Ukrainian border while Arizona and our fellow border states are subject to a full-scale invasion caused by his policies.“
Lance Gooden, US Rep (TX)
“What’s going on at the southern border is not immigration. It’s an invasion.”
Paul Gosar, US Rep (AZ)
Rep. Gosar held a fundraiser with white supremacist Nick Fuentes a few months after giving a speech at America First Political Action Conference, a white nationalist conference organized by Fuentes. Among other racists and bigoted things, at the conference attended by Rep. Gosar, Fuentes spoke about how America needed to protect its white demographic core.
Lindsay Graham, US Senate (SC)
In a campaign ad, Graham says the Biden administration is facilitating an “invasion of illegal immigrants”.
Marjorie Taylor Greene, US Rep (GA)
As a candidate, Marjorie Taylor Greene shared an anti-refugee video and
claimed that “this is what the UN wants all over the world.” The Greene-promoted video features anti-Muslim propaganda, quotes an anti-Semitic Holocaust denier saying that “Zionist supremacists have schemed to promote immigration and miscegenation” and, as one reporter wrote, “implies that Jews are at the heart of a project to destroy Europe as we know it.” The video, which originated on the far-right message board 8chan in 2015, has been celebrated by neo-Nazis and white supremacists.
Eric Greitens, US Senate candidate (MO)
“The president is wiping out the distinction between citizens and non-citizens, and he’s doing it on purpose.”
Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House
“The anti-American left would love to drown traditional classic Americans with as many people as they can who know nothing about American history, nothing about American tradition, nothing about the rule of law. If you go and look at the radical left, this is their ideal model. It’s to get rid of the rest of us because we believe in George Washington, or we believe in the Constitution, and you see this behavior over and over again.”
Ron Johnson, US Senate (WI)
“[T]his administration wants complete open borders. And you have to ask yourself why? Is it really they want to remake the demographics of America to ensure their — that they stay in power forever? Is that what’s happening here?”
Jim Jordan, US Rep (OH)
In response to a question about the recent surge of the number of migrants seeking entry to the United States, Rep. Jordan said, “the only conclusion any rational person can reach is this is deliberate. This is intentional. We’ve had six months in a row where the number [of border encounters] keeps getting higher. So, if it’s not intentional, then it is completely irresponsible, it is completely wrong what they’re doing. I never said that until the last few months when I saw the numbers continue to grow up. So the American people understand how ridiculous this is. And yet they have an administration focused on everything else except what is going on here on the southern border.”
Brandon Judd, National Border Control Council President
“I believe that they’re trying to change the demographics of the electorate, that’s what I believe they’re doing”
Steve King, former US Rep (IA)
“Wilders understands that culture and demographics are our destiny. We can’t restore our civilization with somebody else’s babies.“
“In the U.S., we have almost a million abortions a year, babies who would be raised by American parents. Then we bring in 1.2 million legal immigrants a year and add another 600,000 or so illegal immigrants. The U.S. subtracts from its population a million of our babies in the form of abortion. We add to our population approximately 1.8 million of ‘somebody else’s babies’ who are raised in another culture before they get to us. We are replacing our American culture 2 to 1 every year.”
Kari Lake, Gubernatorial candidate (AZ)
“When I wrote my op-ed detailing my Border Plan @azcentral refused to run it unless I took out the word “invasion.” I said Never!”
Jim Lamon, US Senate candidate (AZ)
“This invasion is absolutely threatening the sovereignty of our country…we have to get serious about this to save our country and save our kids”
Adam Laxalt, US Senate candidate (NV)
“It’s scary scary stuff — 200,000 people pouring over the border every single month…Is the media covering this wall to wall? Of course not. Because this is what the left wants. The left wants to radically transform this nation and they want to destroy the values that made this country a great nation. Our constitutional system, our families, our church communities, the conservative fabric of this nation. They know they need to get rid of that so that they can transform our country.”
Blake Masters, US Senate candidate (AZ)
“There is a crisis. The country is basically being invaded.”
“The Democrats want to change the demographics of this country,” Masters said on a podcast in late April. “They think that if they can bring in millions and millions and millions of illegal aliens, someday they’ll be able to grant them amnesty to grant them citizenship and make them reliable Democrat voters. I think it’s an electoral plan.”
Troy Nehls, US Rep (TX)
Mike Olcott, State Rep candidate (TX)
“The constitution gives states the right to protect themselves from an invasion if the federal government fails to do so…my top priority will be to stop this invasion.”
Dan Patrick, Lt. Governor (TX)
“We are being invaded…the revolution has begun…In 18 years every one of the refugees let into the U.S… “has two or three children, [and] you’re talking about millions and millions and millions of new voters…who do you think they are going to vote for?”
“We are being invaded and if we’re being invaded under the Constitution, I think that gives us the power to put hands on people and send them back…We’re under attack like at Pearl Harbor.”
“This is a plan for the Democrats to take over this country totally, once and for all…If you add 10 to 10 to 15 million people, and you get them citizenship over this time and they get to vote, that swings every election.”
Scott Perry, US Rep (PA)
“For many Americans, what seems to be happening or what they believe right now is happening is what appears to them is we’re replacing national-born American — native-born Americans to permanently transform the landscape of this very nation.”
Karrin Taylor Robson, gubernatorial candidate (AZ)
“The invasion is well under way.”
Wendy Rogers, State Senate (AZ)
“We Americans who love this country are being replaced by people who do not love this country. I will not back down from this statement. Communists & our enemies are using mass immigration, education, big tech, big corporations & other strategies to accomplish this. The groups who are doing this undermine our families, our history, our faith and our rights. We need more people who love America, not less.”
“Biden’s unAmericana agenda has created an invasion, which must be stopped.”
“We are being replaced and invaded”
Carla Sands, US Senate Candidate (PA)
“Joe Biden has surrendered our border to criminals and traffickers and welcomed an army of invaders to cross the southern border. Every day the southern border is left unsecured is an impeachable offense.”
Pete Sessions, US Rep (TX)
“I Don’t Think There’s Any Question’ the ‘Great Replacement’ is Real.”
Eric Schmidt, AG (MO) and US Senate candidate (MO)
Democrats “are fundamentally trying to change this country through their illegal immigration policy.”
Sandy Smith, US Rep candidate (NC)
“Our country is being invaded by illegal immigrants, and the Biden regime refuses to do anything but fly or bus these illegals all across the country. We must stop this invasion. If we don’t have a strong southern border, we don’t have a country.”
Elise Stefanik, US Rep (NY)
A political ad put out by Stefanik (the third-ranking Republican in the House of Representatives) used Great Replacement talking points. “Radical Democrats are planning their most aggressive move yet: a PERMANENT ELECTION INSURRECTION,” says one version of the ad, paid for by Stefanik’s campaign committee. “Their plan to grant amnesty to 11 MILLION illegal immigrants will overthrow our current electorate and create a permanent liberal majority in Washington.”
Donald Trump, former US President
“We are being invaded by millions and millions of people.”
JD Vance, US Senate Candidate (OH)
“Biden has looked at his approval ratings and realizes that the only way to win in ‘24 is to replace the citizens of his own country with illegal foreigners. The invasion he’s allowing to happen at the border is about power for democrats and nothing more.”
“Biden’s open border is killing Ohioans,…with more illegal drugs and more Democrat voters pouring into this country.”
GPAHE will update this round-up as we see additional instances of politicians spreading the Great Replacement conspiracy theory. We will also shortly be adding examples beyond the US.
Tony Abbot, Former Prime Minister
“Having fewer children in western countries will hardly make the climate better when so many children are being born elsewhere,” said Abbott, claiming that dying populations, not climate change, is the biggest threat to western civilization.
Heinz-Christian Strache, Former Vice Chancellor, Freedom Party
He told a reporter that his party was “consistently following the path for our Austrian homeland, the fight against population replacement, as people expect of us.” When the interviewer interjected to say “population replacement” was a term associated with rightwing extremists, Strache replied that it was “a term of reality,” adding: “We don’t want to become a minority in our own country. That’s legitimate and fair and deeply democratic.”
“Many citizens rightly say these are political decisions – the extent to which one wants to continue to allow immigration on a massive scale, the extent to which demographic development then leads to a situation where an ancestral population becomes a minority, and many do not want that.”
Martin Sellner, Leader of White Supremacist Identitarian Movement of Austria
“I think people need to be realistic and serious and understand that if the demographics continues like this we will become a minority in our own country and if the integration policies continue like this we will become Islamic or an Islamic-dominated country.”
Olli Immonen, MP, Finns Party
“Finland is changing…the pace is rapid. Population becomes ethnicized, multilingual, multilingual and religiously divided.”
Nicolas Dupont-Aignan, President, Debout La France
“We have to stop being afraid of words. This position is completely thought out and I break this taboo voluntarily. I am not for zero immigration, but for the consideration of this creeping replacement.”
Jordan Bardella, President, Rassemblement National
“The INSEE data confirms what we have been saying for a long time: immigration is causing a change in population, unprecedented in our history by its speed and its magnitude. We have little time left to choose the face that France will have tomorrow.”
“I do not like this word ‘great replacement‘ because it is not clear, it’s a very intellectual slogan, but it points to a reality that is correct. Go for a walk in the neighborhoods where I grew up in Seine-Saint-Denis, in Bobigny, in Drancy (… ). I’m talking about a civilization on our soil with which we share nothing. We see that there are people who come to our country to change it.”
Jacques Bompard, President, Ligue du Sud
“The Great Replacement, I told you, is first and foremost a reality. It is a reality bullied by the high priests of ethnic diversity, those who want to make national disorder the yardstick of their multi-conflict tomorrows.”
Éric Ciotti, President, Les Républicains
“Yes our society is changing, if we have to talk about major replacement, I am talking about replacement!”
Marine Le Pen, Presidential Candidate, National Rally
“How can we be OK with seeing our adversaries ruining the country economically and morally, with the organized replacement of our population?”
“Never in the history of mankind have we seen a society organizing an irreversible submersion of uncontrolled magnitude which, in the long term, will cause the disappearance, by dilution or substitution, of its culture and way of life.”
Marion Marechal, former MP, National Front
“We want our country back…France is in the process of passing from the eldest daughter of the Catholic Church to the little niece of Islam… this is not the France that our grandparents fought for…there is a youth ready for this fight in Europe today”.
Valerie Pecresse, Presidential Candidate, Les Republicains
Said that France was not doomed to the “great replacement” and called on her supporters “to rise up.” In the same speech, she drew a distinction between “French of the heart” and “French of papers” — an expression used by the extreme right to denigrate naturalized citizens as not rightful citizens.
Eric Zemmour, Presidential Candidate, Reconquete
“I think many French people were waiting for this message, that someone speaks to them about France, about how they feel: that the country is in danger of dying, subverted by an unprecedented wave of migration, that whole areas of the country have become enclaves of foreign Islamists.”
“While the media-political elites strive to treat the Great Replacement as a ‘extreme-right conspiracy theory’, 61% of French people believe that it will take place 67% are worried about it. The ideas that I carry are now central in French society.”
Alexander Gauland, Party Leader, AfD
“[Vote for AfD] to prevent the population replacement caused by the current migration policy, which is leading Germany to its demise.”
“From the refugees who came in and were not registered—nobody discussed if we should open the borders… We Germans are beginning to lose control of this country.”
Beatrix von Storch, Budenstaf Member, AfD
“The plans for a mass exchange of the population have long been written.”
Viktor Orban, Prime Minister, Fidesz
“If Europe is not going to be populated by Europeans in the future and we take this as given, then we are speaking about an exchange of populations, to replace the population of Europeans with others,” said Orbán. “There are political forces in Europe who want a replacement of population for ideological or other reasons.”
“I see the great European population exchange as a suicidal attempt to replace the lack of European, Christian children with adults from other civilizations – migrants.”
“Those who do not halt immigration at their borders are lost: slowly but surely they are consumed. External forces and international powers want to force all this upon us, with the help of their allies here in our country.”
Hermann Kelly, Leader Irish Freedom Party
“…Not a word about incentivising talented and skilled Irish diaspora to come home. According to this, looks as if those talking about a Great Replacement in Ireland have a point. Who is doing the discrimination now?”
Giorgia Meloni, elected Prime Minister, Brothers of Italy
“I think there is a deliberate plan to erase everything that identifies us: culture, Nation, family are under attack.”
Luca Castellini, Leader, Verona Chapter (also called Il Quadrato), Forza Nuova
“Cession of sovereignty ( #Ue ), economic impoverishment ( #COVID19 ), mass control ( #vaccino ) and ETHNIC SUBSTITUTION: who today does not understand that this list of weapons are in the hands of the same power and are all aimed at us is a blind man walking towards the social abyss.”
Roberto Fiore, party leader, Forza Nuova
A Forza Nueva ad, highlighting Fiore as a speaker asks “immigration or ethnic substitution?”
“Even at #Pasqua the ethnic substitution does not stop: bags #lavoro for #migranti, yet another affront to the Italian #giovani and #disoccupati of a junta that has gone mad and out of reality”
Matteo Salvani, party leader, Lega
“Italy today isn’t undergoing a phenomenon of immigration but a real and true substitution: Our young people are leaving and being replaced by foreigners.”
Has called for a Europe-wide alliance against “mass immigration,” linking the “defense of borders” with the “wellbeing of children.” Salvini has also complained that the Pope’s welcome to immigrants would “encourage and fund an unprecedented invasion.”
Emanuele Tesauro, president, Fortezza Europa
“Our biggest worry is the immigrational deluge with which somebody is trying to ethnically substitute Europeans.”
Geert Wilders, politician, Party for Freedom
“We are being replaced with mass immigration from non-western Islamic countries,” Wilders Tweeted, saying the solution was “close our borders and stop Islam, now”….“If we do not stop them we will… be colonised and Islamised. We will cease to exist.”
“Our population is being replaced. No more.”
Robert Winnicki, MP, Confederation on Liberty and Independence
“The government, by opening up the country to mass immigration, is repeating the catastrophic path of the West…No problems on the labor market can obscure from us the fact that preserving cultural, ethnic and religious cohesion is the most important challenge for our nation.”
Krzysztof Bosak, MP, Confederation on Liberty and Independence
“We want Poland to remain Poland…The survival of our nation is important. It cannot become a multicultural, multinational state, because we will argue endlessly over which religion, civilisation, custom is right over some issue.”
Rui da Fonseca e Castro, President of Habeas Corpus; ex-Secretary General of the Alternativa Democrática Nacional (ADN)
“A plan is being implemented which is the repopulation of Portugal by people from different parts of the world. One of the consequences of this repopulation by foreigners is the increase in crime. The repopulation of the national territory can only be done with more Portuguese, without replacing our population in Portugal.”
André Ventura, President, Chega
“We can go around and around all we want. There is a structural problem not only in Portugal but in the European Union that is called demographic substitution. And I’m not trying to say that we’re being racist towards the children of immigrants or the immigrants the truth is only one. The European Union in its entirety. It has been demographically replaced by immigrant children. And this is not good or bad. It’s a problem for Europe to face. Because nobody wants Europe in twenty years to be composed mostly by individuals from other continents. No one wants forty years for the European Union to be composed and I will end up by individuals coming from any other continent except ours which is the European continent.”
Kais Saied, President of Tunisia
“there is a criminal arrangement that has been prepared since the beginning of this century to change the demographic composition of Tunisia … There are parties that received huge sums of money after 2011 in order to settle irregular migrants from sub-Saharan Africa in Tunisia.”