Yeah, okay.. but you're still ignoring the beast with that religious stuff:
You can't merely ignore the ethnic/religious dimension. It matters to the people at large, even if, at the ruling class level, such are merely buttons to press.
Ethic/religious is the button because it matters to the people at large. That is the exploit. That is what makes it so reliable for your "ruling class", who could not possibly give a damn about what matters to the people at large, only that it can produce a reaction with a single broadcast. We are witnessing it's effectiveness right now.