Lots of people had fathers in their lives, and lots of those fathers were imperfect and believed dumb things and acted like entitled asses and so forth. In that respect, one of the archetypes Trump embodies is that sort of father figure to a lot of Americans.
There’s an old Don Knotts film called The Reluctant Astronaut (also includes Leslie Nielsen in a straight role) where Knotts gets sent to space to prove America’s space systems are so damn simple that a janitor could run them (after the Soviets announce they’ll send a dentist up).
Trump is a despicable loser, and the fact America has fared as well as it has proves our system isn’t entirely dependent on good leadership. Take that, Soviets! The problem with this motivation is that a good many Republicans now seem pro-Russia (if not pro-Soviet), on the basis of Trump’s own failure to once rebuke or say anything negative about that dictatorial slum of a regime in Moscow.
Variety pack or Doorstop
Different supporters get different things out of it. Most of them like that he was a doorstop against legislation that they falsely believe, based on false conservative media reports, would curtail their way of life now or in the distant future. For some it’s guns, others religious freedom, and others still business practices like pollution or employee treatment.
Placebo and Convenient excuse
Some supporters have no good reason other than the Trump presidency offered a chance, after eight years of Obama, to simply pretend the world was different even if there was no material improvement to anything specific in their lives or in how the government operated toward them. In that respect, a placebo.
A Fad for Those Who Miss Fads
When was the last big fad? Beanie Babies, 20 years ago? The Internet has changed Faddom. Most fads die swiftly as the next one comes along. There are a ton of tiny microfads. Sure, we’ve had the occasional dance fad, or things like the ice bucket challenge, but they weren’t full-blown, multi-year fads. Obama had some fad-like qualities in the early years, as did the Tea Party, but neither were really that faddy.
Donald John Trump was the biggest fad we’ve seen in a long time. The caps. The cheesy slogans. The dumb-guy personas Republicans all adopted. The hateful, repetitive rallies.
The crossover of fads and Republicans may warrant more study. I seem to recall the obsessions over George W. Bush during his tenure in the office having their own fad-like aspects. Reagan had his fanatical supporters. And so on.
You also have their policy obsessions over time, including the crusade against healthcare, refusing to make a deal on immigration, continually cutting taxes and regulation (none of which are ever enough). Some of that is borne on their denial of reality, some on their cult-like media bubble, but some of it may be a general desire to whine a lot about something or other.
The final result may not give Republicans enough credit. They may actually know climate change is real, but their framework for governance cannot cope. The contradiction has broken them, like HAL 9000. They are afraid of the very real future. They truly believe the solutions will cause negative results, but don’t see any alternative, so they simply try to stop the inevitable. Even if it means going along with an insane twit like Donald John Trump. They fear America becoming responsible more than they fear it becoming a dictatorship run by a kleptocratic dipshit. Or, they still believe they can control him enough that it won’t come to the worst while, apparently, reducing carbon emissions would be like digging their own graves.
Happy New Year! Biden gets sworn in in about two weeks.