Texas Politics

Tarrant tea party leader draws scorn for ‘replacement theory’ posts after El Paso shooting

Will Texas stay red or turn blue? Just look at Tarrant County.

Tarrant County, the largest remaining urban area that’s Republican, has long been considered a bellwether in Texas elections, predicting how the state will go. Music: "Enby" by Loyalty Freak Music.
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Tarrant County, the largest remaining urban area that’s Republican, has long been considered a bellwether in Texas elections, predicting how the state will go. Music: "Enby" by Loyalty Freak Music.

Some North Texas tea party leaders are drawing attention across the country.

First it was for a new political battle cry, preaching political intolerance as the 2020 election looms.

Now, as the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party works to rebrand itself, the group is in the spotlight again for comments made by a high-ranking member after the Aug. 3 mass shooting at an El Paso Walmart.

That gunman referenced the “replacement theory” in an online manifesto and complained about how white people would soon be the minority because of an “Hispanic invasion of Texas.”

“You’re not going to demographically replace a once proud, strong people without getting blow-back,” Fred McCarty, who heads the NE Tarrant Tea Party PAC, posted on Facebook the next day. “You can pacify some with degeneracy, drugs and propaganda but not all will be distracted. People are going to act out and that is precisely why the elites want to disarm us.”

He later posted: “You can’t coexist with people who want to take away your right to self-determination.”

That was followed by: “Imagine flooding a place with foreign people to the point that the native population will become a minority. Then imagine being shocked at the strife and hostility that results. Imagine.”

Some have criticized the comments by McCarty, husband of Julie McCarty, who heads the tea party group in the process of renaming itself the True Texas Project.

“This is the dangerous rhetoric of white supremacists with vile xenophobic and nativist views,” said Emily Farris, an associate political science professor at TCU.

Fred McCarty of Grapevine told the Star-Telegram in an email that “demographic displacement” is happening and is undeniable.

“Yes, I’ve had people criticize my post about the demographic displacement of traditional Americans, but I’ve also had so many more say that they agree with me,” Fred McCarty wrote. “I’ve heard from tons of them. Most Republicans agree with me. It’s seventy percent of Republicans who want every illegal alien deported and that number is growing daily.

“I realize that the goal here is to equate the legitimate concerns of millions of traditional Americans about immigration with ‘white supremacy.’ The establishment media has to do that now because they’ve driven the word ‘racist’ into irrelevancy with severe overuse. This effort to marginalize millions of ordinary people will fail because anyone can see for themselves how one-sided and inconsistent the establishment media is.”

Some have said publicly that they disagree with the “replacement theory” Fred McCarty referred to in his social media posts.

“I don’t think it’s helpful to think about our country that way, that one race competes with another or that one population growing faster than another is a bad thing,” said Matt Mackowiak, who heads the Travis County Republican Party and runs a political consulting firm. “Demographic trends are undeniable.”

Mackowiak said he respects the Northeast Tarrant group and its activism — and he recognizes that it is one of the most influential tea party groups in Texas. He also said he strongly believes legal immigration “is a strength.”

After a story about McCarty’s posts (including Mackowiak’s opinions) went public, Austin lobbyist Steve Bresnen wrote on Twitter: “Thanks to @MattMackowiak for disavowing the views of Fred and Julie McCarty of the Northeast Tarrant Coutny Tea Party re: the racist ‘replacement theory’ they share with the white supremacist shooter who killed 22 in El Paso.”


This comes as the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party is changing its name to True Texas Project.

Julie McCarty, who served as president of the Northeast Tarrant Tea Party, will now be known as CEO of the newly named group.

She said in email that the goal for the name change is to spread the group’s focus outside Northeast Tarrant County — and beyond the typical focus of tea party groups. And its website says it is time to rekindle “the spirit of the Texas Revolution.”

Among the group’s goals: Attracting new members, working to get out the college vote, spearheading community service efforts such as school supplies drives and creating scholarships for high school seniors, and creating a bigger presence with podcasts and educational seminars.

“We are most definitely NOT just NE Tarrant County anymore,” according to a statement the group sent about the rebranding. “NE Tarrant? Way too limiting.”

Farris, of TCU, said it likely was time for the group’s name to change.

“The Tea Party label feels increasingly dated, as the movement was in its strongest during the early 2010’s,” she wrote in an email to the Star-Telegram. “Given the racist history of the southern part of the Tea Party movement and the shifting demographics of Tarrant County, I wonder who they view as part of ‘true’ Texans.”

The True Texas Project statement said TEA generally stands for Taxed Enough Already.

And while that remains a focus of the group, it certainly isn’t the only focus. “We absolutely believe in fiscal sanity, but our group covers a lot more than just that topic. We want our name to reflect that.”

The statement said the group has received positive feedback for the change.

“The name change seems to have invigorated and inspired people anew,” it read. “The main response is ‘it was time.’”

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Anna M. Tinsley grew up in a journalism family and has been a reporter for the Star-Telegram since 2001. She has covered the Texas Legislature and politics for more than two decades and has won multiple awards for political reporting, most recently a third place from APME for deadline writing. She is a Baylor University graduate.