Alan: It is true that Trump's party should step up and condemn the craziness.
But the GOP has spent decades "dumbing down" and pissing off the people who elected Trump.
Without exploring the interrelated roles of victimization, deprivation and loss, I will point out that Trump continually "plays the victim card," in fact he plays it to the point of paranoia and uses it as reason to stew in his spite until his next retaliatory fit of condemnation, punishment and payback.
Trump's core appeal is to angry, disappointed people - many of whom never "got a life" - and who now, late in the game, want to be deceived, want to hear lies, want to be told that their whiteness and their Christianity make them exceptional people who deserve admiration and privilege precisely because they're exceptional.
Many Republican officials are garden variety pragmatists and/or cynical manipulators who have "made their bed and now must lie in it."
But since their constituency is comprised of crazy people, they will "play along with the lunacy" as long as it favors their re-election. (Lest we forget.... It is a rare congress person who loses "his" seat and then regains it. If a politician wants a future in electoral politics, s/he has to play to The Base that elects them.)
More important than Republican leadership is the unpalatable truth that rank-and-file Republicans love Trump because in him they see the rich, powerful person they have always wanted to be, and - icing on the cake! - a guy who is as crazy as they are. (I'm tempted to delve into Devious Donald's strong-man appeal to fascists-in-the-making but, despite the central importance of cheering on the Alpha Dog, it's not directly pertinent...)
In the context of this discussion, every condemnation of Trump's craziness becomes another crystallization point, one more reason to cheer Despicable Donald because he's despicable; one more reason to adulate The Mad Man precisely because he's as mad as they are.
Behind American "conservatism's" self-righteous advocacy of "pure principles" lie funamentally fearful people, prone to self-terrorization, whose spitefulness, vengefulness and passion-for-power are in direct proportion to their lack of charity and inability to love anyone who does not belong to their typically white tribe, sheeple who want to be kept safe - mostly from their own irrational fears - and to that end will gladly sacrifice liberty, the Rule of Law and democracy itself to The Chest-Thumping Simian.
Often, the "trump card" of these fearful white people is their belief that Jesus is coming back very soon to save them from this valley of tears, a belief that renders them willing - and often eager -- to flirt with the salvific titillation of unleashing Armageddon.
I wish the news were better.
That said, America is rapidly "browning," and if we can resist this last gasp of white "Christian" madness, we might come out the other side as abruptly as Han Solo burst into hyper-space.