The efforts at overly complex analysis of the reasons for Trump’s success continue to to frustrate me. The answer to the riddle of his success is as simple as it is simple minded.
Like all demagogues, Trump found power by insulting people his followers don’t like. Mostly those were the “3Ms,” (Muslims, Mexicans, and the Media). While some of the targets may have been different, the general strategy is not new.
He continues to exploit the unpopularity of these groups, to this very day to maintain the sagging core support he enjoys, even as he systematically repudiates the more substantive positions they supposedly rationalized as the “real” reasons for supporting him. His supporters don’t abandon him because those more substantive positions really never mattered to them anyway. The hate for those groups is what mattered, and he still gives them that.