Millions of Americans began to see Trump as something like an Omnipotent Father Figure. More importantly, they began to have precisely those feelings for him — the feelings wounded children might have towards “good” parents. Feelings of warmth, affiliation, admiration, even love. Hence, when Trump directed them to be hateful, ignorant, foolish, bigoted, even violent — they seemingly obeyed. This is how demagoguery works, at a psychosocial level: the demagogue plays the Omnipotent Parent, and the flock adopts the posture of the Wounded, Helpless Child, whose role it is to obey the parent, because the parent is the Only One who truly loves them. Cherishes them. Will keep them safe. In the insecure, vicious hell that their lives have become.
My parents are two of these millions, for precisely these reasons.