Lee Drutmanwas quoted in a CNBC article about how race and identity questions have created new divisions between the two political parties.
An evolution toward social tolerance among younger Americans, on issues including sexuality as well as race, points toward diminished relevance of identity divisions over the long run. But anxiousness among whites – who have shrunk to 70 percent of the electorate from over 90 percent in the 1960s – will offer a tempting target for Trump-like Republicans as America becomes a majority-minority nation over the next three decades.
"By making questions of national identity more salient, Donald Trump succeeded in winning over 'populists' who had previously voted for Democrats," analyst Lee Drutman wrote in another part of the Democracy Fund study.
Trump's success, which accelerated pre-existing trends, has given Republicans more blue-collar support and Democrats more allies among better-educated, more affluent suburbanites. That blurs some historic partisan splits over economics, while sharpening those the president continues to inflame.
"The primary conflict structuring the two parties," Drutman observed, "involves questions of national identity, race and morality."