The NFL, Charlottesville, and Trump’s pattern of racial division

… From the first day of Trump’s presidential campaign in 2015 — when he denounced Mexican immigrants as “rapists” and “criminals” — Trump has targeted the groups in the electorate who polls show feel the most threatened by demographic, cultural and economic change, particularly older, blue collar, evangelical and non-urban whites. He has systematically encouraged these voters to think of themselves as a group under siege — and to view him as the champion who will defend “our heritage,” as he put it in the speech Friday night when he targeted the NFL protesters before a virtually all-white audience in Alabama. …

Many conservative analysts have welcomed the latest confrontation-which has spilled out beyond the NFL to encompass Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors of the NBA — because they believe it positions Trump as defending the traditional values of flag and country that his supporters fear are in retreat.

But through his belligerence on these issues, Trump also risks stamping the GOP as a party of racial intolerance precisely as the millennial generation, the most diverse generation in American history, is passing the predominantly white baby boom as the largest generation of eligible voters; the post-millennial generation that will enter the electorate behind them starting in 2020 is even more diverse. CONT.

Ronald Brownstein, CNN