A full explanation of the Trump phenomenon is beyond me, but I have some idea of the moment when a hard kernel of support crystalized around him. He came right out the gates talking about how Mexico is unleashing a flood of rapists and drug dealers, and the backlash was immediate. Networks couldn’t drop him or his beauty pageants fast enough.
The point when the brands desert you usually marks the point you’re officially dunzo. NFL threatens to move the Superbowl, Arizona backs off of the anti-immigrant bill. Tech companies make some threatening noises, and the Illinois “religious liberty” legislation vanishes back into committee. All it took was for South Carolina to read the writing on the wall (plus nine murdered people), and they promptly dumped the Confederate flag, and one little molestation scandal amongst good Christians reduced the Duggars to scrounging for whatever TV time they can get.
Regarding the Confederate flag, outside of Civil War obsessives and the “F U, black people” contingent, the strongest well of support comes from “You can’t tell me what to do.” Sure, whatever they’re doing might be inappropriate, offensive, or completely nonsensical, but they’ll happily ignore all else but their right to make an ass of themselves, which is all the justification they’ll ever need. The guy in Minnesota out waving the stars and bars, whose direct descendants fought and died defending the Union, is a Trump supporter for sure. The Donald says dumb shit that hurts people and doesn’t even make any damn sense, but as long as he never ever apologizes for any of it they’ll love him forever.
These are angry people, and they feel like they’re losing. They’ll suck hella corporate dick, but the corporations NEVER have their back whenever some scheme of theirs to kick minorities in the teeth starts getting bad publicity. Not a whole lot of reciprocity in that relationship. The Anita Bryants of the world usually crawl off and die once Tropicana dumps them, and someone seen to be bucking that trend is HUGE. Trump is freeze peach on steroids, and it doesn’t even matter what he says as long as he’s defiant about his right to say it.