The Great Man of the Masses. The recipe for what the masses call a great man is easily given. In all circumstances let a person provide them with something very pleasant, or first let him put it into their heads that this or that would be very pleasant, and then let him give it to them. On no account give it immediately, however: but let him acquire it by the greatest exertions, or seem thus to acquire it. The masses must have the impression that there is a powerful, nay indomitable strength of will operating; at least it must seem to be there operating. Everybody admires a strong will, because nobody possesses it, and everybody says[Pg 333] to himself that if he did possess it there would no longer be any bounds for him and his egoism. If, then, it becomes evident that such a strong will effects something very agreeable to the masses, instead of hearkening to the wishes of covetousness, people admire once more, and wish good luck to themselves. Moreover, if he has all the qualities of the masses, they are the less ashamed before him, and he is all the more popular. Consequently, he may be violent, envious, rapacious, intriguing, flattering, fawning, inflated, and, according to circumstances, anything whatsoever.
Human, All Too Human; §460
This is as good a précis of the Trump cult as you’re likely to encounter. And recall that William Jennings Bryan, another amoral and self-serving demagogue, was known as “The Great Commoner.”
More and more, I am convinced that the great divide in American life is not on race, religion, ethnicity, gender, any of those familiar and barbed hooks; it is education and experience of the world beyond the neighborhood.