It is astonishing that this race is within the margin of error.

Many on the left are astounded that so many conservative Christians in Georgia would reject a compassionate, profound, and clean-living Christian pastor like Reverend Raphael Warnock, and instead prefer the deranged and hedonistic pathological liar Herschel Walker. The thing is, this is nothing new; the phenomenon goes back to Ronald Reagan, and has only been growing since then.

People were incredulous when an actor, Ronald Reagan, who was clearly not too bright, ran for office. We believed his popularity was due to his acting skills, his charisma and charm—which, at least in part, was true enough. His supporters were perfectly willing to ignore the dim-witted nature of the man, instead creating their own image of his power and brilliance in defiance of what everyone witnessed.

But then republicans got behind George W. Bush, a privileged, former-drug-using, bullying little snot who was a serial liar, an AWOL draft-dodger, and clearly dumb as a post.

Not too long after that, republicans went absolutely wild over Sarah Palin, a corrupt, lying idiot who couldn’t answer even the simplest of questions—and even preferred her over John McCain, who, while he had his own issues, was at least pretty smart, and was a war hero to boot.

And then, of course, there is Donald Trump, who topped the chart with his pathological lying, his malignant narcissism, his appeals to violence and hatred; his cheating, stealing, and fraud; his racism, misogyny, and open contempt for disadvantaged people; his openly criminal intent, his open assault on institutions and truth, and even his hostility to democracy itself. He became not just their hero, but their savior. Their fealty and adoration turn out to have been not opportunistic but true, as it maintains its intensity even beyond his usefulness to right-wing desires.

With each of these inept, easily-manipulated, unqualified, and clearly broken people, their corruption and ill deeds just got more and more outrageous as their intelligence shrunk to almost vanishing insignificance.

Herschel Walker is nothing new; he is simply the latest in a clear trend, a progression—or, more accurately, a regression—towards a crushing singularity of lies, debauchery, and stupidity.

And so we find that an increasing number of republican voters not only don’t respond to intelligence, character, or values, they in fact don’t give a rat’s ass to any of it. All they care about is one thing:

Will they rule in my name?

Beyond that, most republicans could care less about the person. Put a known pedophile, a rapist, even a mass murderer up for republican candidacy, the ever-growing base will vote red.

Even worse, it actually seems that the more reprehensible and asinine the candidate is, the more they vote for them. One might think that the republican base was simply voting for whomever ran on the republican ticket, but no—they actually seem to prefer lying, corrupt, idiotic scumbags.

As confounding as this may be, once you look closer at the culture, and see the contempt for compassion, the destructive “make the world a worse place” attitude, their joy in making people they don’t like suffer for their entertainment, and their unrestrained desire to serve their animal pleasure of domination of others, you begin to realize that these people suffer from a sort of sadistic nihilism. Hurting people is the whole point. Wrecking the world is what they want. And they seem to not care the least about values or consequences.

Herschel Walker, in fact, may be even closer than Trump to being the embodiment of the republican base.

We have to realize that their behavior is not an accident or even very fringe; it is, in fact, a movement in and of itself.