It’s hard to explain why 73 million votes cast for Trump, without acknowledging up front, the determinative role of racism in their voting decisions. In the minds of Trump voters, the fault line framing their thinking is whether 21st century America will be a white republic. Or will it give way to a multi-racial democracy that accents freedom, equality, peace, sustainability, and broad based economic sufficiency?
This retrograde view was always a pronounced current in the country’s politics and historical evolution. But in the opening decades of this century, the election of an African American president, the growing prominence of people of color (as well as women and gay and trans people) in many spheres of national life and the inexorable trend toward a majority minority country has made their dive into racist revanchism particularly acute.
If this were not enough to make millions of white people worry about who sits atop of “their country,” the rise of the extreme right and the election of Trump spiked “white anxiety” to new levels. Political consciousness, we should know by now, is largely politically constructed. It isn’t simply belched up spontaneously from the bowels of the economy and society.