Despite his “fake news” refrain, Trump doesn’t hate the mainstream media the way his most ardent supporters do. They sincerely believe it’s a hostile opponent in the culture war, while Trump’s anger is more that of a jilted lover. His whole life has been marked by an obsession with publicity.

His supporters, though, are oddly blind to that fact. Normally, when conservatives or Republicans deviate from the party line, the knee-jerk assumption among activists is that they are doing so out of a desire to win praise from the liberal media and invitations to Georgetown cocktail parties. If that’s often unfair, it may actually be the case for Trump, and yet his base insists that if he “wins,” it must also be a win for conservatives. So deep is the desire to see the Trump they thought they were getting, they bend the facts to fit their heroic narrative.

The widespread animosity toward the GOP leadership among many Trump supporters only fuels the delusion that Trump can do no wrong. “Punishing” House speaker Paul Ryan and Senate majority leader Mitch McConnell is now its own reward because they are part of the “globalist swamp” Trump was elected to drain.