Back in 2011, I posted about a 2005 blog post by John Rogers on the site Kung Fu Monkey who, based on the number of people who voted for Alan Keyes in the Illinois senate race against Barack Obama in 2004, decided that there is a 27% ‘crazification’ factor in the US electorate that represented the percentage of people who would vote for a totally unfit and even wildly nutty candidate purely out of tribal loyalty. (Whatever happened to Keyes? He ran for the Republican nomination for president in 1996, 2000, and 2008 but has been quiet recently.) The post was written facetiously but the idea caught on like wildfire and others started seeing evidence from other cases that provided support for that number.
And now here comes another piece of evidence. It should be clear to anyone by now that Donald Trump is a racist, xenophobic, misogynistic, ignorant, narcissistic, needy, liar, utterly unfit to not just be president but to hold any position of responsibility that involves having power over others. And yet, the Economist/YouGov poll finds that when asked who is the better president Abraham Lincoln or Donald Trump, 25% of all respondents chose Trump. When disaggregated (p. 267), that number stays pretty much the same across gender, age, family income, and region. The one outlier is that only 10% of blacks prefer Trump. It should come as no surprise that 53% of Republicans choose Trump.
The lesson from this is that there is no proposition so absurd or candidate so undeserving that a quarter of the population will not sign on in support because their tribal loyalty takes precedence over everything else. It is a deeply sobering thought.