The mind boggles at the fact that, even with Hillary Clinton for an opponent, Donald Trump won in 2016.
According to the most reliable polling data, some forty percent of the electorate still supports him. This is even harder to process.
How could Trump not embarrass even the most doltish voters? How could they not care that, day after day, he adds to a mounting pile of evidence that proves beyond a reasonable doubt that he is corrupt, ignorant, incompetent, out of control, and, despite formidable competition, the worst president in modern times?
The short answer is: because nearly all of Trump’s remaining supporters identify as Republicans.
They are not all stupid or vile or non compos mentis. Most of them are, in fact, of sound mind. Many are good and considerate people, able to carry on conversations and to negotiate their ways through life’s vicissitudes.
And yet, they support Trump.
Explanations abound, but nothing quite dissipates the bafflement the Trump phenomenon arouses.
Trump voters feel dislocated and disrespected, they hate Hillary and her supporters (can’t blame them for that!); Fox News and other rightwing media have dumbed them down; they cannot bear to admit that they have been duped.
All true — but, even taken together, they don’t entirely explain why Trump is able to hold onto his marks; why so many of them remain bamboozled. One wants to say that there must be some straw out there that…