Republicans and White Evangelicals Are Outliers in Great Replacement Belief
Baptist News Global’s Jeff Brumley reports on PRRI’s latest immigration survey, noting that “[t]he gap between Americans on immigration is steadily widening as conservatives increasingly embrace anti-immigrant attitudes.” The survey finds that 55% of Americans consider arrivals from other nations as a strength for U.S. society, compared to 40% who describe immigrants as a threat to national values and customs. When it comes to belief in the great replacement theory, Republicans (69%) and white evangelical Protestants (65%) are outliers. By contrast, Brumley highlights that only 17% of Democrats, 37% of independents, 31% of Hispanic Catholics, 29% of Black Protestants, and 27% of religiously unaffiliated Americans say they fear immigrants are eroding the nation’s character and traditions. Both media consumption and openness to conspiracy theories correlate with belief in replacement theory and in the overall view of immigrants as a threat to American customs and traditions: Those who most trust conservative television media (76%) or Fox News (74%) are significantly more likely than those whose most trusted a mainstream television source (28%) to say that newcomers from other countries threaten traditional American customs and values.
Asymmetrical Conspiracism Is Hurting Democracy
From the perspective of an American living in Britain, Brian Klaas for The Atlantic reports that a “disease has infected the core of the [American] political system…: extreme conspiracism.” While other countries are polarized, he writes, America has irrational polarization, in which one political party has fallen under the spell of conspiratorial thinking. One of the first photos to circulate of newly elected speaker of the house Kevin McCarthy was with Republican Rep. Marjorie Taylor Greene, a former QAnon believer who once blamed a wildfire on Jewish space lasers. Klaas notes that in Britain, conspiracy theorists are ostracized: “Politicians may disagree about policy, but those who disagree about reality face real consequences.” At the same time, he argues, the U.S. political right is the leading global source of COVID conspiracy theories. Klaas summarizes that “[r]ather than getting expelled from the Republican Party or becoming pariahs on the right, conspiracy theorists have become GOP stars.” PRRI research finds 16% of Americans overall identify as QAnon believers, including 25% of Republicans and 9% of Democrats. YouGov polling found that in Britain, overall only 3% believe in QAnon.
Immigration and the United States: A Complicated, Often Toxic Relationship
PRRI’s research director, Natalie Jackson, writes for the National Journal about America’s “long history of putting new immigrant groups to work on hard and dangerous jobs,” as well as having to endure awful housing conditions in slums. Though their lives improved considerably after a generation or two, Jackson writes that attitudes about our current immigration crisis are best understood by dispensing with the mythology of the U.S. being a great land of opportunity as soon as you step foot on its soil. Jackson writes that PRRI’s most recent report found positive news in it from the pro-immigrant standpoint: most Americans (57%) support a pathway to citizenship for those living in the country illegally, a majority (55%) say newcomers to the country strengthen American society, and 64% reject the cultural-replacement theory that immigrants are invading the country and replacing our cultural and ethnic background. At the same time, she notes the survey also found that 60% of Americans favored more refugees from Ukraine, while less than half (45%) favored accepting more refugees from Afghanistan. The data show that Americans also favor accepting more highly skilled immigrants (70%) at higher rates than accepting more low-skilled immigrants (39%).
Witches Urge Alternatives to Sage Amid Concern About Appropriation, Overharvesting
Emily McFarlan Miller for The Washington Post reports that the popularity of white sage comes with concern about cultural appropriation and overharvesting to meet demand in the southwestern United States, California and northern Mexico. Miller talks to 23-year-old witch Kitha, who has their own online metaphysical shop, that purposefully does not sell white sage. Kitha’s father is Indigenous to Puerto Rico and their mother elsewhere in the Americas. “I started my shop because I was always raised with those Indigenous values, and one of those values is that we don’t own Earth. We cannot sell something that we don’t own,” Kitha stated. The Blackfeet Tribe of Montana and Métis use burning sage, or “smudging,” as one form of purification that takes place before interacting with the divine, says Rosalyn LaPier, an environmental historian and professor of history at the University of Illinois. LaPier points out that many religions have similar purification rituals and that several traditions use incense to purify spaces or objects, and wonders what people think smudging is when it’s disconnected from Indigenous spirituality.
Read PRRI’s latest report “Are Immigrants a Threat? Most Americans Don’t Think So, but Those Receptive to the “Threat” Narrative Are Predictably More Anti-immigrant” here.