Jennifer Rubin: What if one party doesn’t believe America is for everyone?

"All men are created equal" is America's founding creed, the reaffirmation that America is not defined by race or place of birth or any other outward characteristic, but rather by fidelity to the rule of law, democracy and the opportunity to pursue one's dreams. Unfortunately, a high percentage of one major political party doesn't buy that.

The recent Public Religion Research Institute poll finds:

"Overall, nearly half of Americans generally support a racially and ethnically diverse vision of the United States, although there are moderate divisions by race. When asked to put themselves on a scale, where one end is the statement, 'I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation made up of people from all over the world,' and the other end is the statement, 'I would prefer the U.S. to be a nation primarily made up of people from Western European heritage,' 47% of Americans mostly agree with the first statement, while less than one in ten (9%) Americans mostly agree with the second statement, and 39% place themselves in the middle of the scale.

"There are also stark political divisions on this issue. Nearly two-thirds (65%) of Democrats, compared to only three in ten (29%) Republicans, mostly prefer a country with racial and ethnic diversity. Republicans are nearly twice as likely as Democrats to state a preference for a Western European majority in the country (13% vs. 7%). Additionally, over half (56%) of Republicans place themselves somewhere in the middle on this issue, compared to one-quarter (25%) of Democrats. Independents closely resemble Americans in general on this question."

But America is a racially and ethnically diverse country, you say. Yes, and that may explain the high degree of anger and sense of alienation many Republicans who supported Donald Trump feel. Less than a third of them believe America should be diverse.

One criticism of Trump supporters' immigration stance has been that they are not merely opposed to illegal immigration but to immigration of black and brown people. The poll gives some support for that conclusion. For them, Trump's criticism of "s---hole" countries is a sign he understands their beef with immigration.

This negative view of diversity permeates many Republicans' thinking. For example, "Democrats are likeliest to say that the U.S.'s diversity makes the country stronger. More than three-quarters (77%) of Democrats say that the country's diverse population makes it stronger, while only 55% of independents and 51% of Republicans agree. Notably, one in five (20%) Republicans say that the U.S.'s diverse population makes it weaker."

On one hand, all political groups think our creed/beliefs in our Constitution are what most define us. "Overwhelming majorities of Republicans, independents, and Democrats agree that respecting American political institutions and laws (98%, 85%, 91%, respectively), believing in individual freedoms such as freedom of speech (96%, 88%, 93%, respectively), and accepting people of diverse racial and religious backgrounds (86%, 82%, 92%, respectively), are somewhat or very important for being truly American."

But PRRI also finds large majorities of Republicans think it is somewhat or very important to be born in America and believe in God if one wants to be "truly American."

Republicans by and large don't put too much stock in religious diversity (i.e., religious freedom). "Over half (54%) of Democrats, compared to only one in ten (12%) Republicans, mostly prefer religious diversity. By contrast, four in ten (40%) Republicans state a preference for a Christian majority, compared to only 14% of Democrats. A plurality (45%) of Republicans and nearly one in three (29%) Democrats place themselves in the middle of this scale. Independents closely resemble Americans in general on this question."

The rejection of a pluralistic, multiracial democracy by so many Republicans should be deeply disturbing. It also explains the polarization on so many political issues. If one party doesn't really think that those not from Western European heritage (i.e., nonwhite people) should be here, reaching consensus on immigration and even child separation seems nearly impossible. If one party thinks religious diversity is a threat to America's identity, good luck reaching consensus on issues such as religious accommodation, the Muslim ban and more. (That said, one interesting part of the poll finds that there are supermajorities of Republicans and Democrats who favor a long list of policies, e.g. protection for those with preexisting conditions, treating rather than punishing drug users, getting rid of mandatory-minimum sentences and allowing those who've served prison sentences to regain the right to vote.)

We should seriously consider why so many Americans fundamentally reject our founding creed and where our institutions have failed to convey and propagate those fundamental beliefs. Ronald Reagan famously said, "America represents something universal in the human spirit. I received a letter not long ago from a man who said, ‘You can go to Japan to live, but you cannot become Japanese. You can go to France to live and not become a Frenchman. You can go to live in Germany or Turkey, and you won’t become a German or a Turk.’ But then he added, ‘Anybody from any corner of the world can come to America to live and become an American.’ " Today, an alarming number of Republicans would say: Not so fast.