Clive Crook writes at Bloomberg View:
There are two main theories of Trump's support. One is that a large minority of Americans -- 40 percent, give or take -- are racist idiots. This theory is at least tacitly endorsed by the Democratic Party and the mainstream liberal media. The other is that a large majority of this large minority are good citizens with intelligible and legitimate opinions, who so resent being regarded as racist idiots that they'll back Trump almost regardless. They may not admire the man, but he's on their side, he vents their frustration, he afflicts the people who think so little of them -- and that's good enough....
the first theory is absurd and the second theory basically correct.The first theory, if it were true, would be an argument against democracy. If tens of millions of Americans are racist idiots, how do you defend the popular franchise?...Trump is routinely accused of being authoritarian and anti-democratic...Many of his critics, on the other hand, are anti-democratic in a deeper sense: They appear to believe that a little less than half the country doesn't deserve the vote.
There's a lot of sense in there (and the entire column, which isn't that long, was worth my click), but there are some logical leaps, too. Maybe there are a lot of people in the gray area between "racist idiots" and "good citizens" Say, people who might be willing to overlook a certain amount of appeals to racism or sexism or religious bias in a candidate or party that they agree with on other things. Or people who harbor mild biases of their own, but are also sometimes able to overcome those biases. And maybe one can favor democracy over authoritarianism even if one believes that "tens of millions of Americans are racist idiots" because at least elections provide a check against the possibility that one of the racist idiots gains power permanently. Or maybe you believe that "idiots" usually don't bother to vote even if they have the right to.