To such supporters, Trump is not a clown. He’s a folk hero—though an odd vessel for the articulation of resentment. In an era of economic anxiety and foreign policy frustration, it is predictable that immigrant bashing and Obama vilification are propelling the Trump candidacy.
But data, both demographic and attitudinal, suggest the opposite. America is becoming more diverse and Americans less wedded to some important “wedge issues” that have driven divisions in the American electorate for over 30 years. This change is happening across the breadth of American society, especially among the young.
In my new book, The Twilight of Social Conservatism: American Culture Wars in the Obama Era, I analyze why the shift in diversity and attitudes toward moral issues have made America such a different place now than when Nixon spoke and when Reagan ruled. The country has changed significantly even since 10 years ago, when Bush adviser Karl Rove predicted decades of conservative domination, in our “center-right country.”
There are three key reasons for this.