Media Tip Sheet: The Great Replacement Theory's Threat to Democracy

May 18, 2022

Last weekend's massacre in Buffalo cast a spotlight on the Great Replacement theory that drove the shooter to target a supermarket predominantly Black neighborhood. Right-wing media stars and Republican politicians have amplified the hateful idea for some time, influencing the views of some conservatives on the nation's demographic evolution and on democracy itself.

Andrew Thompson, assistant professor of political science at the George Washington University, studies the concept of "demographic determinism," which inaccurately assumes that a more diverse population will guarantee electoral dominance for the Democrats. Professor Thompson found that the Republicans he surveyed increasingly supported authoritarian and anti-democratic candidates whenever he brought up the subject of demographic change. Professor Thompson fears that the creeping GOP embrace of the Great Replacement delusion could have a devastating effect on our democracy:

The dangers are that the theory not only motivates extremist violent action like what we saw, it also weakens Americans’ trust in each other and in democratic institutions. In short, it pushes the country in an anti-democratic or authoritarian direction.

If you would like to schedule an interview with Professor Thompson, please contact GW Media Relations at [email protected].