We have suffered Donald Trump’s racist and xenophobic views since even before he championed the Obama birther conspiracy, but polling suggests he has failed to make the country more racist and xenophobic. Perhaps his repugnant personality makes whatever views he espouses suspect; alternatively, confronted with a cruel bigot, maybe the country recoiled.
For all of Trump’s Confederate flag-waving, race-baiting and efforts to play on White grievance, the public remains supportive of Black Lives Matters, recognizes the existence of systemic racism and supports Black athletes’ efforts to raise awareness of racial injustice. A recent Pew Research poll finds, “Overall, 44% of Americans now say that it is a lot more difficult to be a Black person in the U.S. than it is to be a White person, while 32% say it is a little more difficult and 23% say it is no more difficult. The share saying it is a lot more difficult to be Black than White is now 9 percentage points higher than it was in the summer of 2016.” (The increase, however, is almost entirely among Democrats, a sign that Trump’s racism and violent reaction to protesters has, if nothing else, prompted White Democrats to take a good look at racial injustice.)