President Trump cannot run on his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with fatalities projected to possibly hit 250,000 by Election Day. He cannot run on the economy, when nearly 30 million Americans remain unemployed. It is not surprising that, just as he did in 2016 and 2018, he resorts to race-baiting and culture wars (which often overlap). He believes his base is deeply antagonistic toward nonwhites and intends to act as its defender. The problem for him is that he is on the losing side of the most pressing social issues.

When it comes to serenity in the suburbs and elsewhere, polls show that he trails Democratic nominee Joe Biden. In a Morning Consult-Politico survey, Biden leads 47 percent to 39 percent on who voters trust when it comes to public safety. Fifty percent of likely voters in a recent Quinnipiac poll said Trump made them feel less safe, 10 percentage points higher than said the same of Biden. Last week’s ABC News-Ipsos poll found 55 percent think Trump is making civil unrest worse, while only 13 percent said he is calming the situation. Biden’s polling in Wisconsin, where recent police clashes and the killing of two protesters followed the police shooting of Jacob Blake, remains strong. Chalk up a win for Biden, then, on the “law and order” issue.

Other aspects of the culture wars are not going any better for Trump. A Post poll found that “a majority of Americans, including a majority of football fans, says it is acceptable for professional athletes to kneel during the national anthem, and an even larger percentage say athletes should use their platforms to tackle social issues.” It is not even close. “Despite cries for athletes to ‘stick to sports,’ particularly from conservative pundits and politicians, a 62 percent majority of Americans say professional athletes should use their platforms to express their views on national issues.” Trump strongly opposes protests by athletes and, at one point, called them “sons of b-----s” for kneeling during the national anthem.

Moreover, as Biden has argued, the American people’s eyes have been opened by the series of police shootings of unarmed Black men and women, especially the Memorial Day killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis, which set off nationwide Black Lives Matter protests. The Post reports: “Six in 10 Americans say recent killings of Black people by police are a sign of broader problems in the treatment of Black people by police, according to the poll, while 36 percent say they are isolated incidents.” In other words, a supermajority of Americans think there is systemic racism, but Trump and his acolytes — despite a mound of evidence — think Whites are the real victims in American society.

On racial justice issues, there are large disparities by party and race, but even within the Republican Party there are not-insignificant segments that recognize systemic racism (33 percent) and favor athletes’ protests (36 percent) and use of their platform for social change (43 percent). In a warning sign for Republicans, large percentages of suburban voters and White, college-educated voters, two highly sought-after segments of the electorate slipping away from Republicans, believe racism is more than a series of discrete instances and favor protests and athletes’ use of their platforms to call for change.

Finally, on immigration, the voters have become more supportive of newcomers during the Trump years. Polling from the Pew Research Center finds that “an increasing share of registered voters — Trump and Biden supporters alike — say the growing number of newcomers to the country strengthens American society. In the new survey, 60% say this, while 37% say this threaten the nation’s customs and values.” That is an improvement since 2016, when the split was 50 percent to 46 percent.

In short, Trump’s racist, anti-immigrant outlook and his hostility toward police reforms and activism for racial justice reflect a majority of Republicans by many measures. However, as voters overall flee the Republican Party (which is down 8 percent in affiliation this year alone, while Democrats have gained 5 percent) and the country becomes more diverse, Trump’s nationalist party has become more isolated from the majority of Americans.

In comparison to Trump, the majority of Americans are far more inclusive, more open-minded about the tenacity of racism and more supportive of athletes playing a role in social change. Culture wars might be Trump’s favorite ploy, but he is playing a losing hand.

Follow Jennifer Rubin‘s opinionsFollowAdd

Watch Opinions videos:

NFL wide receiver Kenny Stills and sports broadcaster Bob Costas say athletes once vilified for protesting police brutality will be viewed kindly by history. (The Washington Post)

Read more: