The people who backed Donald Trump for president in 2016 have largely continued to support him. In the previous election, many of them pointed to cultural anxiety as one of their main reasons for backing Trump’s pledge to “make America great again.” But as more Americans label the president a racist due to his worldview, the voters who continue to back him are becoming bolder in justifying their support, citing retaliation for being viewed as backing a racist.

Trump was unapologetic in stoking the fears of many white Americans when he launched his presidential campaign in 2016. In his opening campaign speech, he articulated his hard-line immigration ideas in response to fears about the impact of Mexican immigrants on America’s cultural fabric.

As a result, the neophyte politician rose to the top of the polls ahead of former governors, senators and other veteran politicos rather quickly. All of this led to claims of racism, largely from people of color on the left who saw a familiarity in Trump’s words — claims that were not boldly embraced by those on the left but that have since become more mainstream.

But fear of being accused of backing a white supremacist worldview caused many Trump fans to remain silent about their support for the real estate developer or to publicly express support for someone else while privately backing Trump.  […]