“What we’re seeing is that on the right, the rank-and-file white evangelicals aren’t really interested in moving positions in terms of immigration reform,” [Wong said]. The white evangelical has entered its latter days, and the bloc’s support for Trump can be seen as a reaction against the inevitable. “I had expected that white evangelicals, especially the leadership, would maybe modify its agenda to accommodate some of these new sources of growth,” she said. “But the opposite happened. That demographic change actually created a lot of anxiety, I think.”
Each party now faces distinct difficulties. Republicans can’t survive without the support of their white base, which binds them, for now, to the grievance politics that put Trump in office. Democrats can’t surrender ground on reproductive justice or same-sex marriage, yet their immigration policies should make them attractive to the coming wave of non-white evangelicals. White evangelicals, in the meantime, find themselves in a trap of their own creation. In so many respects, their grip on American politics appears doomed—by the xenophobia they have embraced, and the young adults they’ve failed to retain.