Was every Trump voter motivated by a xenophobic fury at brown people coming here to live a better life? Of course not, but all voters motivated by a xenophobic fury at brown people coming to live here were Trump voters, and he shamelessly, consistently, and viciously played that card.
There’s a popular argument among Trump apologists that the wall, deportations, and DACA weren’t linchpins of Trump’s campaign rhetoric. This is cheap and sloppy historical revisionism. He opened his campaign with an attack on Mexicans. At Trump rallies, “build the wall” was the tentpole of his speeches and central to the crowd’s Pavlovian call-and-response. His attacks on Marco Rubio, Jeb Bush, and the rest of the 2016 primary field were predicated in large measure on their alleged weaknesses on immigration. Anti-immigrant rhetoric was the hot wire connecting more traditional working-class Republican and Reagan Democrat voters who remain firmly convinced that Mexicans took their jerbs after the passage of NAFTA. It was also a talisman among the alt-righters, who believe that allowing immigration (legal and otherwise) “browns” their desired lily-white America.