It's as if they believe that being an idiot disqualifies a person from the presidential post. That is hardly the case. An idiot is an instrument. A well-handled idiot may be an effective tool in achieving certain goals. I wasn't aware of that, but, judging by the way he was portrayed in The Spitting Image, with its continuous refrain of "the president's brain has gone missing", Reagan used to be widely regarded as an idiot:
Surely Trump must be a more extreme case of that?
But whatever his intellectual abilities, or rather lack thereof; whatever his "deeply flawed character"; Trump is a representation of a certain set of values. Tougher immigration policy. Lower taxes. Possibly law and order. Fear of China. Resentment of political correctness and of the social justice movement. His personal qualifications — except perhaps for the inconstancy, which makes him a rather unreliable upholder of these values, — don't even need to enter the picture.
I am, of course, aware that my use of the word idiot is deeply subjective and requires examination. It is the sense that I get when I hear him speak, especially extemporaneously, not reading a speech that is likely not even written by him anyway (here's a hilarious example of him misreading or misunderstanding the word refuge, likely taking it for refugee, and trying to gloss over it). It is not just a lack of any evidence of a good education (compare Boris Johnson, with his command of advanced vocabulary and classical languages and history) or, on the contrary, evidence of glaring gaps in education (people used to laugh at Gary Johnson for not knowing what Aleppo was; but Trump reportedly didn't know that Finland was a country, and has an abysmal knowledge of history); although it does contribute to the overall assessment, as do his atrocious Twitter misspellings (Noble for Nobel, Whales for Wales; there must be lots more). It’s the man's epistemology ("I thought her voice was an important voice"), his apparent lack of understanding of what statistical indicators mean ("You’re doing death as a proportion of cases. I’m talking about death as a proportion of population" — “You can’t do that!”); his absolute inability to recognize how much out of his depth he is in a topic ("suppose we hit the body with a tremendous ... very powerful light"); his unbelievably lame excuses ("I see no reason why it wouldn't be Russia" — although this one was probably coming from his aides, given that he was reading that from a sheet of paper; or his incredible, impossible "I was asking the question sarcastically"). All of this alongside a complete absence of any expression of mental processes that would go above the secondary school level.
But, I remind myself, the man must have something that allowed him to get the most important job in the country. Yes, he must; but I am not sure what that is, and I am finding it difficult to call it intelligence.
And, to end on a light note, here's a hilarious cut that someone made from his Axios interview: