Patrick Ruffini is a GOP pollster and campaign consultant and the concept of “America as an Idea” is associated with traditional conservatives like George Will and is set in opposition to nativists like Donald Trump and his former immigration guru Stephen Miller.
The concept of “America as an Idea” still gets media play from Never Trump Republicans but the United States has always been a nation. The question has always been what kind of nation. Is the U.S. a “republic,” a democracy,” a “nation of immigrants,” a “settler nation,” a nation of “Manifest Destiny,” a “liberal vs conservative” nation, an industrial, post-industrial, or agricultural nation, the New Roman Empire or the Declining Roman Empire?
A good way to understand contemporary America as a nation is that the U.S. is in a fragile transition from a white republic to multicultural, socially liberal democracy. Many of the foundational elements of a multicultural democracy are in place but adherents of the old system have leverage and are using that leverage to thwart or reverse the transition wherever possible.
Picture from BBC