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Most Americans don’t buy replacement theory, but the US still ...

World

Most Americans don’t buy replacement theory, but the US still has a problem

It’s time voters stopped tolerating political rhetoric that creates space for the naive to get drawn into conspiracies

Faye Flam

After last weekend’s massacre in Buffalo, New York, news headlines announced that a third of Americans and half of Republicans subscribe to some part of replacement theory, a racist idea believed by the alleged shooter. Those headlines were based on a survey by the AP-NORC Center for Public Affairs Research. A closer look at the data shows those headlines were exaggerated, but even so there is something seriously wrong in the US. Its population is being subjected to dangerous forms of political manipulation.

So-called replacement theory holds that a shadowy cabal is engineering an influx of immigrants for political gain — to “replace” conservative white voters with liberal-leaning minorities who will then have some harmful effect on American culture. 

To be clear, a third of Americans don’t subscribe to this entire theory. The part of replacement theory a third of Americans agreed with in surveys had little to do with their views of immigrants. They were asked if they believe politicians want to increase immigration for political gain. It’s not conspiratorial to be cynical about politicians’ motives. ..

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