This was an interesting piece, about how racism and xenophobia have been more openly expressed since Trump’s presidential campaign came to occupy the headlines. It is mostly based on personal anecdotes, but I suspect it is pretty accurate. I think it is not the full story though.
Trump is just the bottle opener that has released pressure that has been building for the last 7 years. President Obama has been elected twice, and I think has the support of the majority of Americans. Like most presidents though, he is less esteemed by a minority of the country.
Unlike past Presidents, though I think he is viewed by a significant minority as an actual material threat to their well being, their freedom, if not their lives. Being the first African president has to be a big part of this. Especially, in many red states, you can live your life and generally not have to interact with anyone who isn’t white for long. You certainly don’t often have an African, or other non-white in authority over you.
When someone is first under the authority of a person not of their race, any latent racism tend to rise, even if only in the back of one’s mind. Most of us have racist tendencies to one degree or another. Usually, these kind of feelings don’t last, as one becomes more comfortable with a new situation. This adjustment is taken a while in most of Red America. At the same time this angst has been bottle up to a degree. While most of us are racists, we know you can’t generally express that feeling. For many, this angst has been bottled up.
Mr. Trump in seeming to make it OK to express these feelings has just popped the top of the bottle and released the pressure that has been building.