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Ron Johnson frets about “demographics” in dog whistle so loud you can hear it on the moon

Ron Johnson frets about “demographics” in dog whistle so loud you can hear it on the moon

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Fox News is rapidly reaching the point of critical mass after which its defenders will no longer be able to say with a straight face that it’s anything other than a white nationalist outfit. Critics of Fox have been pointing out the network’s blatant race-baiting, xenophobia, and pandering to white grievances for years but the election of Donald Trump seems to have supercharged these problems.

Recently, the network’s golden boy Tucker Carlson embraced the “Great Replacement” conspiracy on air. This theory holds that white people are being gradually and intentionally “replaced” as people of color immigrate to western countries, changing the balance of racial demographics.

This despicable narrative first became popular among racists in Europe but has since spread to the United States where it has been championed by Republicans who fear that white control of the nation might one day end. Belief in the conspiracy theory is a legitimate threat to peaceful societies, as it has been the animating idealogy of numerous far-right mass shooters, including the man who shot and killed 51 people at a mosque in Christchurch, New Zealand.

While Carlson insisted the issue isn’t about race for him, his choice of the word “replacement” is a clear dog whistle. Now that he’s indicated it’s okay to spread this hateful worldview, others are emboldened to do the same. On Fox Business yesterday, Senator Ron Johnson (R-WI) echoed Carlson’s points. He avoided saying “replacement,” but made the same vile argument about demographics.

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“This 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 that they stay in power forever? Is that what’s happening here?” Johnson asked the reliably execrable Larry Kudlow.

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There is no honest way to parse Johnson’s remarks as anything other than racist. By “demographics” he means race. He’s obviously not concerned about age, gender, or occupation. He’s worried about race because the Republican Party relies on white votes to win elections. They believe a more diverse electorate will be the death knell for their authoritarian organization.

As is always the case with these conspiracy theories, the logic simply doesn’t line up. If Republicans are truly worried about immigrants of color voting for Democrats there’s a simple solution: create a policy platform that appeals to voters other than rich white people. Of course, the GOP is so entrenched in white grievance politics at this point that the mere suggestion of passing legislation that might help anyone but white people spells political doom with the MAGA base. These politicians know for their party to survive in its current state they must maintain white hegemony.

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