It isn’t just the Lord who hates a coward – it’s the Republican base. And the Republican base perceives cowardice in anyone who won’t back Trump down the line. In fact, the worse the black mark on Trump’s record, the more the base judges politicians who won’t back him – every sin becomes a referendum on the courage of politicians. Trump is the man who stopped Hillary Clinton and who stands between the country and Hell, in this view – those who mouth niceties about tape of the n-word or holding meetings with Russian lawyers are simply providing aid and comfort to the other side. In this view, Republicans weren’t even willing to smack around Democrats for violating basic rights, but they’re more than willing to earn “strange new respect” by attacking Trump. This makes Trump the only important figure in the Republican Party, and the standard upon which all Republican politicians are judged.

Trump exposed a crack in the Republican political facade: an unwillingness to challenge perceived political norms. He burst through that crack like a big rig busting through a pane-glass window. But here’s the problem: destroying some political norms that required destruction does not mean that all political norms should be destroyed. Pre-Trump Republicans erred on the side of leaving too many political norms in place; Trump errs on the side of eviscerating all political norms in the name of victory. And because Trump won, and continues to win, the Republican base largely believes in the evisceration.