How GOP candidates are using ‘dangerous’ language

J.D. Vance, a Republican Senate candidate in Ohio, said in a tweet on Feb. 16 the only way President Joe Biden could win reelection in 2024 "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 (D)emocrats and nothing more."

A number of GOP candidates have spent hundreds of millions on ads this campaign season pushing replacement theories and other racially charged conspiracies, while also targeting fellow Republicans who don’t fall in line with the far-right base.

During the 2022 midterm cycle, more than 2,700 ads have aired on television and social media focusing on racist tropes, according to a compilation by America’s Voice, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

More than 100 directly mentioned the racist Great Replacement Theory and “invasion” language, accusing Democrats of deliberately encouraging migrants to cross the southern border illegally to replace white voters. And more than 300 ads cite critical race theory, claiming Democrats are trying to indoctrinate children with fake history lessons about systemic racism against Black people, according to a USA TODAY analysis.

Critics say the ads can be effective but come with a societal cost.

“Without a doubt, there are serious downstream violent consequences,” said Zachary Mueller, political director of America’s Voice, a progressive immigration advocacy group.

For example, the Republican candidates’ claims that liberals were “grooming” children by pushing for LGBTQI+ rights were repeated by the Proud Boys when the extremist street gang disrupted a drag queen story hour on June 11 in California.

A Buffalo gunman who has been charged with a hate crime for the mass shooting of 10 Black shoppers at a Buffalo supermarket referenced the racist replacement theory 10 times in his writings before the shooting. The gunman said Black people were “replacers” of white Americans.

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