Deep down, millions of Americans believe a simple morality tale that goes something like this: The white Christian establishment is the original source and continuing guardian of America's tradition of liberty and limited government, and minorities threaten it because they don't share the same attachments.
This has always been nonsense. But in Donald Trump's America, that will become even more obvious. Indeed, if America's liberal democracy has a future, it is no longer with Trump's overwhelmingly white backers, but with minorities.
Think about America under President Trump. He will likely exercise draconian powers to make good on his promise to eject from America millions of undocumented immigrants. It would require a vast expansion of the police state to hunt down and detail these immigrants. And remember, Trump vowed to end the "war on cops." He ran as a law-and-order candidate who isn't likely to have much use for reining in police abuse, especially if Rudy Giuliani is his attorney general. In fact, Trump has explicitly promised to expand racial profiling and stop-and-frisk policies. He speaks of African-American communities with casual disdain. He vowed to ban Muslims from the U.S. And on and on and on.
All of these tendencies need to be forcefully resisted. But where will this resistance come from? Not whites.
Exit polls show that 58 percent of white voters went for Trump. A majority of white men (63 percent) backed him. But so did a majority of white women (53 percent). They weren't just non-college educated, low-information voters. As expected, 67 percent of that group voted for Trump — but so did 54 percent of college-educated white men. Among white women, about 62 percent of the non-college educated went for Trump and — shockingly — also 45 percent of the college educated.
Now, obviously, tens of millions of white people actively opposed Trump. And equally obviously, not all the white folks who voted for Trump necessarily approve of his character or tactics — and are appalled by his racism. But too many of them
The best hope then to rein in Trump's future excesses comes not from white people — but his prospective victims, minorities.
The Latino firewall that was supposed to stop Trump on Election Day failed. Latinos did not come out in high enough numbers. About 29 percent actually voted for Trump, defying expectations and besting Mitt Romney by 5 percentage points. However, in literally every swing state except Florida, according to exit polls by Latino Decisions, Trump got less than 17 percent of the Latino vote. It was in reliably red states that Trump ran up his numbers with Latinos.
Among blacks, Trump got less than 8 percent of the vote. Meanwhile, two-thirds of Asian Americans, who have historically voted for Democrats at rates that rival those of blacks, said they were "scared" of Trump being in the Oval Office.
The fear and trembling that Trump is striking among minorities, about 40 percent of the population, could be a potent force to protect the Constitution. Minorities have every reason to heighten their vigilance. They need the Constitution's protections more than ever. This is one reason why so many of them are out on the streets protesting Trump's election. These protests will escalate if the Trump presidency unfolds as expected — as will lawsuits against his administration by civil libertarian outfits.
We may be entering a new era of minority activism.
This is, in a way, as it should be. After all, the whole purpose of the Constitution is to protect minorities from the tyranny of the majority. The only foolishness might have been the fairytale that a white majority with an abstract love for the Constitution alone could ever be a reliable custodian of America's freedoms.