Donald J. Trump’s victory could well push the American party system toward a clash between an overwhelmingly white ethnic party and a cosmopolitan coalition of minority groups and college-educated whites.
Despite the unexpected result, Mr. Trump lost the popular vote in an election that in some respects closely resembled Barack Obama’s victory over Mitt Romney in 2012 — an ordinary end to a very abnormal campaign. The power of party identification held approximately 90 percent of Republicans in Mr. Trump’s camp.
However, Mr. Trump’s campaign may set in motion a process that reorients American politics toward the cosmopolitanism versus nationalism divide that he emphasized, reconfiguring our party system and shaping our politics for decades to come. The power of social identity suggests that such a dynamic could be difficult to stop once set in motion.