White Nationalism: A Political Ideology Centered on Racism and Conspiracy Theories

by | Sep 24, 2022 | Racism (Us vs Them)

Members of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross at Tampa, Fla., Jan. 30, 1939. Image: Wiki Commons

White Nationalism: A Political Ideology Centered on Racism and Conspiracy Theories

by | Sep 24, 2022 | Racism (Us vs Them)

Members of the Ku Klux Klan burning a cross at Tampa, Fla., Jan. 30, 1939. Image: Wiki Commons
Aside from inflammatory anti-immigration rhetoric and Qanon fantasies, the conspiracy theory white nationalist are pushing in campaigns across the country is Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the 2020 election.

In September 2022, President Joe Biden convened a summit called United We Stand to denounce the “venom and violence” of white nationalism ahead of the midterm elections.

His remarks repeated the theme of his prime-time speech in Philadelphia on Sept. 1, 2022, during which he warned that America’s democratic values are at stake.

“We must be honest with each other and with ourselves,” Biden said. “Too much of what’s happening in our country today is not normal. Donald Trump and the MAGA Republicans represent extremism that threatens the very foundations of our republic.”

Former President Donald Trump embraces Kari Lake, the Arizona GOP candidate for governor, at a rally on July 22, 2022. Mario Tama/Getty Images

While that message may resonate among many Democratic voters, it’s unclear whether it will have any impact on any Republicans whom Biden described as “dominated and intimidated” by former President Donald Trump, or on independent voters who have played decisive roles in elections, and will continue to do so, particularly as their numbers increase.

It’s also unclear whether Trump-endorsed candidates can win in general elections, in which they will face opposition not only from members of their own party but also from a broad swath of Democrats and independent voters.

What is clear is that this midterm election cycle has revealed the potency of conspiracy theories that prop up narratives of victimhood and messages of hate across the complex American landscape of white nationalism.

Campaigning on Conspiracy Theories

In my book, “Homegrown Hate: Why White Nationalists and Militant Islamists Are Waging War on the United States,” I detail how the white nationalist narrative of victimhood and particular grievances have gained traction to become ingrained in the present-day Republican Party.

I also examine four key strands of white nationalism that overlap in various configurations: religions, racism, conspiracy theories and anti-government views.

Conspiracy theories allow white nationalists to depict a world in which Black and brown people are endangering the livelihoods, social norms and morals of white people.

In general, conspiracy theories are based on the belief that individual circumstances are the result of powerful enemies actively agitating against the interests of a believing individual or group.

Based on the interviews I conducted while researching my book, these particular conspiracy theories are convenient because they justify the shared white nationalist goal of establishing institutions and territory of white people, for white people and by white people. While conspiracy theories are not new, and certainly not new to politics, they spread with increasing frequency and speed because of social media.

The “great replacement theory” is one such baseless belief that is playing a role in the anti-immigration rhetoric that is central to the 2022 strategies of many Republican candidates who are running for seats at all levels of government.

That theory erroneously warns believers of the threat that immigrants and people of color pose to white identity and institutions.

For months on the 2022 campaign trail, Republican Blake Masters, a venture capitalist who is running for a U.S. Senate seat in Arizona, has portrayed immigration at the U.S.-Mexico border as part of an elaborate plot by Democrats to dilute the political power of voters born in the United States.

“What the left really wants to do is change the demographics of this country,” Masters said in a video posted to Twitter last fall.

Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp is another Republican leader who decries what he calls “the invasion of the southern border.”

The Lie of the ‘Big Lie’

Aside from the inflammatory anti-immigration rhetoric, the conspiracy theory currently having the biggest impact on local, state and federal political campaigns across the country is Trump’s “Big Lie” that he won the 2020 election.

Donald Trump greets Pennsylvania gubernatorial candidate Doug Mastriano on Sept. 3, 2022. Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Of the 159 endorsements Trump has made for proponents of the Big Lie, 127 of them have won their primaries in 2022.

In addition, Republican candidates who align themselves with the Big Lie are also emerging victorious in races for state- and county-level offices whose responsibilities include direct oversight of elections.

The Continuation of QAnon

On his social media site Truth Social, the former president quotes and spreads conspiracy theories from the quasi-religious QAnon. A major tenet of QAnon is the belief that the Democrats and people regarded as their liberal allies are a nefarious cabal of sexual predators and pedophiles.

Trump is not the only Republican politician who welcomes and spreads such disinformation.

Two of the most prominent politicians who have been linked to supporting QAnon are U.S. Reps. Lauren Boebert of Colorado and Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, both of whom have been resoundingly endorsed by Trump.

Democracies Under Threat

The blatant use of conspiracy theories for political gain reflects the open embrace of white nationalism in not only the United States but also throughout Sweden, France, Italy and other parts of the world.

In my view, the conspiracy theories that drive the 2022 midterm campaigns reflect the global threat of hate around the world.The Conversation

Republished with permission from The Conversation, by Sara Kamali, Professor, Creative Writing, University of California San Diego

The Conversation

The Conversation

The Conversation is a nonprofit, independent news organization dedicated to unlocking the knowledge of experts for the public good. We publish trustworthy and informative articles written by academic experts for the general public and edited by our team of journalists.

0 Comments

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Follow Us

Related Articles

Nov 26 2022

How States Used Racist Land Laws to Exclude and Displace Asian Americans

In the 19th and 20th centuries, more than a dozen states enacted legislation barring Asians from purchasing property. But immigrants and their families used the court...
Nov 13 2022

Knoxville’s Black Community: First the Racism, Now the Medical Debt

The story of how Knoxville’s Black residents came to be its primary victims of medical debt is written in the city’s changing landscape.
Oct 11 2022

The Legacy of Racism Endured by Black Women Owning and Maintaining Their Homes

The racism pervading the housing industry is now well known. The real estate industry has excluded Black Americans from homeownership and reinforced racial segregation...
Sep 19 2022

Racist Governors Are Engaged in Human Trafficking

Racist governors Abbott and DeSantis are not even original in their mistreatment of immigrants. The same cruel scam was perpetrated on black families in the 1960s by...
Sep 13 2022

Voter Suppression: The Fight Against an Age-Old Effort to Block Black Americans From Voting

As a new wave of voter suppression restrictions makes voting harder for people who struggle to read — now 1 in 5 Americans — people like Olivia Coley-Pearson have taken...
1936: A flag hanging outside the headquarters of the NAACP (National Association for the Advancement of Coloured People) at 69 Fifth Avenue, New York City, bearing the words “A Man was Lynched Yesterday.” (Photo by MPI/Getty Images)
Sep 11 2022

Congress Considers Adding Lynching Sites to the National Park System

Preserving pieces of history has taken on added importance amid a heated national debate about how the nation’s history of centuries of slavery and oppression of Black...
Aug 28 2022

America’s Right Wing Is Itching To Erase Our History of Racism and Slavery

Right-wing zealots are intent on hiding our history with a state-sponsored, Orwellian purging of knowledge. Last year, 1,586 books were banned in 86 school districts,...
Aug 19 2022

Where Did Extremists Go When Twitter and Other Social Media Platforms Cracked Down?

A former intelligence officer and data scientist explains how extremists, conspiracy theorists and violent racists fled to smaller platforms. Once there, their remarks...
A Texas law says slavery cannot be taught as part of the ‘true founding’ of the United States. Tamir Kalifa/Getty Images
Aug 12 2022

Conservative Politicians Seek to Revise History Lessons About Slavery in the United States

A Texas proposal to “redefine” slavery grew out of work done under a Texas law that says slavery and racism can’t be taught as part of the “true founding”...
Jul 26 2022

Texas Republicans Work to Redefine Slavery as “Involuntary Relocation”

Truth in America is under seize. There has been a concerted, intentional effort to bury our history, with the purpose of hiding crimes against humanity, acts of horror,...
Subscribe for Updates!

Subscribe for Updates!

Join our mailing list to receive the latest news and updates from our team.

You have Successfully Subscribed!

Pin It on Pinterest

Share This