Over the last few decades, western society, if not the world at large, has been moving in a more inclusive, open-minded, tolerant direction. Here in the US, among the many who are not comfortable with these developments, some of these have shrugged and begrudgingly gone along somewhat, but a significant number of them resent having to change their ways and adapt to a new reality.
And then along comes a “leader” who tells them they don’t have to conform to this sea change; that their biases and prejudices are nothing to be ashamed of but something to cherished and be proud of, no matter how wrong or repugnant others may see them as.
That’s how you get people to endorse wannabe authoritarianism, children in cages, election fraud, lies, racism, sexism and even treason.
As long as you tell the aggrieved they’re right to feel that way, that OTHERS with their alleged non-American, unpatriotic ways are the ones to blame, you’ll get them to endorse this “leader” who reaffirms their biases and even gets them to throw away their own moral compass, just as long as they can feel good about themselves in the face of a changing world ushering with it diminished status and privilege.
Rick James used to say cocaine was one hell of a drug; not as strong as this one, I bet.