White identity is a potent force in American politics with wide-ranging consequences that are increasingly difficult to ignore. Former President Trump came to power, after all, by using subtle — and not so subtle — language to appeal to millions of white Americans worried that their power and influence in American society are on the decline.
His strategy of white identity politics has continued to work. Not only did Trump campaign on this message in 2016 and win, but after he lost the 2020 election, some of his supporters were so taken by his message that they stormed the U.S. Capitol in defense of white power and white supremacy. While white identity politics have a long, sordid history in the U.S. that predates Trump, we can see how his strategy has taken root in states across the country. Today, Republican lawmakers across the country are working to implement