This is just something I have been thinking about. I can't say I have much confidence in its validity, but it makes sense to me today, so I will just shoot my mouth off about it.
The Republican party, for about a hundred years (Let's say from the time of Taft or Teddy Roosevelt up until the Bushes) was really dominated by a few very rich families. Either their choices, or their actual relatives, were the ruling members of the party, and its selections for high office. That worked out pretty well, although a couple of low-class outsiders like Nixon and Reagan managed to weasel their way into the White House, but by the 21st century, the party had sort of run out of traditional families like that. The last sort of mainline old style Conservative to run for President was McCain, the son of a right wing admiral; after that, the party was out of ammo, as witnessed by the endless run of charlatans who have sought their Presidential nomination since then. So, the Republicans seem to have adopted what I call the "artillery strategy."
Between World War I and World War II there was a great deal of progress in the aiming of artillery. By early in World War II, massive books of tables involving millions of computations had been compiled to enable artillery to be aimed with some degree of accuracy, given distance, elevation, wind speed, etc.* However, what I am talking about was the practice before that time, which traditionally involved firing two rounds, one deliberately short of the mark and one past it, seeing where they landed and using that information to set cannons to hit the target.
That is sort of what has happened in the last two Presidential elections, although probably not intentionally. In 2012, with Romney, the Republicans undershot, and selected the sort of semi-rich sociopath who could be counted on to do every single thing the real rich guys wanted, but there was no way they could pass him off as a man of the people. This time around, they did the opposite. They picked a guy who had years of experience on TV honing his appeal to the unthinking, but who was in the end totally out of control.
Next time around, I am afraid (assuming Trump loses and there is a next time around) the Republicans are going to be shooting for the target. They know what they need now- someone who is a robot totally in their control, but who can do an adequate job of faking being a real human being. It is going to be a real test of our progress toward artificial intelligence to find such a candidate, but I think they may well be up to it.
*As a side note: until at least the middle of World War II, these computations were done by hand, by massive numbers of government employees who were called "computers." When machines were developed to do a lot of this tedious work automatically, they were called computers too, and we were off to the races.