Donald Trump almost makes it too easy. Like George W. Bush before him, he's not merely a functional idiot. On the contrary, his level of success, like Bush's, indicates that he's not a complete dolt. The problem with Trump is that he's neither book smart nor intellectually curious, while also assuming his target demographic is equally uninformed.
This is why we've heard him pitch himself as having "the best words," while insisting that Hillary Clinton "doesn't have her own words." It's literally toddler-level language, and it's illustrative of both his total lack of depth and his assumptions about his brainwashed base. But that's all he needs to be politically successful in America, circa 2016.
Since the ascendancy of George W. Bush and, to a certain extent, social media and Sarah Palin, smarts and wonkiness aren't as highly valued as sensational outrage delivered in a folksy way.
Just take a look at your Facebook news feed. You won't find memes about the finer points of gerrymandering, but you'll find plenty of shallow bumper-sticker quality hyperbole. Why? Because it sells. Why does clickbait exist? Because we click it. Why do Twitter trolls flourish? Because we love to feed them (I'm so guilty). Hence, they'll never go away. Likewise, Trump realizes that by playing to the lowest common denominator it'll provide him with "so much winning." Because Americans love gibberish.
Worse, Trump will deliberately blurt gibberish in order to get his white male disciples to ditto it online. This is why he said during his prepared remarks last week that Hillary Clinton's email server was hacked even though there's no evidence that it was. Now, surely there are millions of white guys on social media repeating how Hillary got hacked. The truth is irrelevant as long as an authority figure vouched for the lie.
Today on Mike Gallagher's radio show, for example, Trump totally flubbed the math on the balance of power on the Supreme Court as it relates to this week's Hellerstedt ruling on the Texas anti-choice TRAP law, HB2.
TRUMP: Now if we had Scalia was living or if Scalia was replaced by me, you wouldn’t have had that. Okay? It would have been the opposite.
GALLAGHER: So just to confirm, under a Donald — a President Donald Trump-appointed Supreme Court, you wouldn’t see a majority ruling like the one we had with the Texas abortion law this week.
TRUMP: No, you wouldn’t see that. And people understand that.
The Court's ruling was five-to-three to strike down the Texas law. The three conservative justices on the Court -- Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas and John Roberts -- decided in favor of the law, while the remaining five justices, including Anthony Kennedy, chose to overturn HB2.
Now, Trump said that if Scalia had lived and was still a justice, "it would have been the opposite." In other words, Trump suggested that if Scalia was alive, the vote would've been... what exactly? Three-to-five the other way? Anyone with functioning gray matter and a grade-school level understanding of the Supreme Court knows that if Scalia was alive, HB2 would still have been struck down by a vote of five-to-four, rather than five-to-three (the fourth vote being Scalia's Corpse).
Hilariously, Trump noted that "people understand that." And guess what? He's probably correct because most of Trump's people, along with Gallagher's listeners unquestioningly accepted his ridiculous math as fact because he's an authority figure and the other math has a liberal bias. Again, he seemed to suggest that an additional conservative vote would've removed one of the liberal votes, or Kennedy. So, it's not a stretch to predict that a scary-large number of Trump people are repeating this totally inaccurate observation.
Bottom line: the Republican nominee for President of the United States doesn't understand how the Supreme Court works at its most basic level. In fact, this could've been any deliberative body and Trump would've flummoxed the math. Badly. Couple his ignorance with his bigotry, his bullying and his pre-K level rhetoric and it's a miracle that even the most ill-informed Fox News cultists aren't abandoning him for a less functionally-moronic replacement. Like Sarah Palin or similar.