Trump’s aim is straightforward: To convince voters that there is a privileged class that scoffs at their patriotism and cares more about political correctness and diversity than ordinary Americans, their traditions and their economic plight.

The president’s allies say he’s guided in this fight by the same instincts that got him elected. Trump’s relentless attacks, they say, cut to the heart of Trump’s appeal.

“The reality is that, to the average American voter, esoteric policy is not very digestible,” said Sam Nunberg, a former Trump aide. “But culture is policy and the president understands that.”