To what extent is Trump driving the country towards more white-identity politics? I’m not sure, since it’s hard to determine the cause and effect here: Did Obama’s election, the events of 2014, such as Ferguson and its aftermath, and the nation’s increasing diversity create an atmosphere for “white lives matter”-style activism that Trump was able to tap into? Or did his campaign create the movement in some ways? Or did Trump simply expand or highlight what was already there? I don’t know.
But what’s clear is that we are seeing strong, overt signs of white identity politics from conservatives, and Trump is executing an agenda that pushes back against the identity politics of liberals. Trump could eventually and pointedly criticize “Unite the Right.” He could call for the removal of Confederate monuments. But I doubt he will, because for now it appears that a kind of white identity politics is a key part of American politics and one that is aligned with Trump. A Trump condemnation of “Unite the Right” would be perceived as a victory for the multi-culturalists over those who are concerned about preserving white identity. I doubt he wants to hand the multi-culturalists a victory.