This is how Trump plans to win: evoke nostalgia for when 1950s white American Christians (Protestant and Catholic) roamed and ruled the Earth. It’s his non-retreat strategy.
Call it Jurassic Park 5: Return of the McCarthy Era.
In place of compromise, Trump promises revival. Even though just 45% of the country now fits the white Christian label, demographic decline is going to be ignored for the rest of this election cycle.
In other words, Trump is going to play pretend–and hope it works. Not governed by reality, he means to make his own reality.
There will thus be no negotiated truce with secular, feminist, and nonwhite America–and certainly no terms of surrender.
This is what Trump means by “Make America Great Again”–and why he thrills the Republican base in ways that no other politician could touch in the 2016 primaries. It’s also why he is so painfully and evidently unsuited for navigating the black-white divide in the country today (as illustrated by his response to the recent shootings).
So in terms of political governance, “Make America Great Again” is code for “I won’t power share. I mean to take power back for white Christian America.” Trump’s hope is that this subtext will light-up more than half of American voters. It is Trump’s Hail Mary pass for the general election: achieve unprecedented turn-out among white Christians. It’s what’s coming into focus as his plan for victory.
Put another way, Trump appears to have concluded that the secular and nonwhite demographic trends of the country as a whole can be overcome by appealing hard to the demographics of Indiana (treating the country as if it had the demographics of Indiana), and this is why Trump is most likely to pick the shark-eyed and Lego-hairdoed homophobe Mike Pence as his VP pick.
If it is Pence, we’ll discover in November whether the Trump-Pence strategy worked. I seriously doubt it will. (O me of little faith.)