The self-interested reason for conservatives to fear white identity politics is demographic: there’s an expiration date on any coalition that wins white men without college degrees but alienates a “Rainbow coalition” that includes college-educated whites. That date may have already passed. Imagine choosing now, of all moments, to run a campaign that actively antagonizes Hispanics who were born in the United States.
Regardless, it dooms movement conservatism in the long term.
And even if Trump wins this year, there is reason for conservatives to fear the identity politics he embodies and inspires even in the short term. That is partly because he will embrace redistributionist big government, albeit an iteration that directs its spoils to different constituencies. His efforts will displace much of what existing factions in the GOP hold dear: Neither social conservatives nor libertarian-leaning Republicans nor neoconservatives will gain standing. All may lose it.
The cultural debate about political correctness will be transformed as the face of what’s “politically incorrect” changes from, say, a college professor embroiled in a Kafkaesque “bias investigation” for failing to issue a “trigger warning,” to a xenophobic demagogue insulting the parents of a fallen Muslim American soldier.