So when alienated, cynical and rebellious voters chose Trump as the loudest expression of their grievances, they knew exactly what they were getting. When evangelicals joined them, they understood what kind of church they were in. And when Republican holdouts submitted, they didn’t convince themselves that they had judged him too harshly on testimony too scant. They just decided that a pardon was in their self-interests, and they bit their tongues until they lost the ability to speak.
The “Access Hollywood” tape didn’t ruin Trump because it didn’t reveal anything about him that wasn’t suspected or assumed. The exposure of his fraudulent philanthropy? Ditto. His rampant tax evasion? Scales fell from exactly nobody’s eyes.
Trump enjoys a kind and degree of immunity that few if any politicians in my lifetime have been given. His own exhaustively established indecency inoculates him. As a result, all manner of ugliness slips by — unnoticed, barely noticed or noticed and accepted as Trump being Trump.