Trump’s supporters have told me that minorities commit crimes with impunity, that illegal immigrants get benefits at higher rates than Americans, that gays and Muslims are afforded special status by the government. They lament that Confederate symbols, and the people whose heritage they represent, are sidelined while diversity is celebrated. They don’t understand why Democrats can campaign on overt appeals to the interests of blacks and women and Latinos, but Republicans are deemed offensive if they offer to represent the interests of whites and men. They hear, incessantly, on talk radio and the Internet, that they are under attack by the emboldened legions of minorities who, in the age of Obama, seek white domination and reparations and race war.
Why are they allowed to do things that we’re not allowed to do? This sentiment has resurfaced in recent days as the conflicts at Trump’s events have flared. Why, his supporters ask, do protesters—many of them part of organized leftist campaigns—get to disrupt and even shut down his events, while Trump and his supporters are expected not to respond? Why is Trump asked to condemn and discourage violence, while the protesters aren’t criticized for coming and starting trouble? Why are minorities suddenly entitled to jobs and platforms and Oscar nominations that previously belonged exclusively to whites? Trump’s supporters see their social status slipping at others’ expense in what they perceive to be a zero-sum game. And they may not be wrong.
Trump feels their pain. He assures them their resentment isn’t racism, that the implicit accusations they feel oppressed by are mere political correctness. He tells them they are entitled to the privileges they see others getting—and that, when he is in charge, they will get them back.