Shelby, I suspect your desire to imagine that there are clever reasons for things has clouded your ability to diagnose the actual situation. Let's wander back in time to the Nixon campaign of 1968. For the first time in US politics, the newly-developed techniques of market segmentation were used (the Nixon team hired one of the top Madison Avenue ad companies to guide them) to target key blocs deemed to provide easy and reliable votes: the low-IQ, the uneducated, the religious (and yes, these three categories do largely overlap, which will turn out to be very important in a moment).
This strategy was, as we all know, highly successful. US politics was always about simple-minded soundbites, but now the bites became smaller and simpler, and more divisive. Reagan benefited mightily from this approach, with his spurious appeal to an illusory "moral majority." More importantly, Republican politicians across the nation focused their messaging so as to attract and retain the cognitively under-developed. G.W. Bush played this card, particularly during his second campaign, and the dividends were handsome.
Of far more significance than Bush, however, was the fact that after nearly 20 years of appealing to the ignorant and simple-minded, a profound shift took place. As Republican policies and messages were all highly simplistic and basically outright lies, a number of Republican voters felt they should stand for office because they were clearly qualified to do so: they were ignorant, simple-minded, bigoted, etc. And thus the Tea Party swept into power.
The great irony presented by the GoP is that it began by capturing the ignorant and simple-minded but ended up inevitably being captured by them. Most Republican politicians across the nation are low-IQ know-nothings, because this combination appeals strongly to the voter base the GoP created by its explicit targeting of such people.
Trump is thus merely a superficial symptom of a profound underlying cause. It is also clear that even after Trump dies, nothing will really change except that whoever comes next will likely be a little less infantile and a little more cunning, which is when the USA's version of Hitler or Stalin or Mao or PolPot will turn the USA into a formal dictatorship, instead of the de facto one that presently lurches unthinkingly towards its final destination. While it's amusing to focus on Trump and his whining stupidity, the factor of overwhelming importance is the 43 million US voters who are even more ignorant and stupid than he is, and who consequently are easy fodder for any demagogue who shows up. They aren't going anywhere, which is why they will vote for the US version of Hitler/Stalin/Mao soon enough in what will retrospectively turn out to be the USA's last quasi-legitimate presidential election.