WHO IS “AMERICA”? WHOSE “AMERICA” IS IT?
Ethnocentric thinking has long identified the only “real Americans” and “real America” as politically conservative, rural or suburban, Christian and White. The uniformity of the first 43 presidents symbolically affirmed this mode, paying a substantial social and psychological dividend to this group. Deep resentment arose among some when Barack Obama became a two-term president. Historian Nell Irvin Painter notes that “without Barack Obama, there is no Donald Trump” and that “ ‘Make America Great Again’ is a phrase whose ‘great’ was widely heard as ‘white.’” Historian Sarah Churchwell writes that the Trump campaign slogan “America First” actually has a lineage of nativism, including when the Ku Klux Klan tried to copyright it.