Nixon proved that competent crooks can be better than honest republicans and incompetent Democrats. Ford seemed like a reasonably honest guy and Carter was clearly incompetent. Both had fairly failed administrations. Clinton as far as character goes was a rival of Nixon but his administration was modestly successful. The moral is that politics is such dirty business that character is a poor predictor of performance. Now we get to see what the combination of poor character and incompetence looks like in influence peddling Joe.
The question is if the President is a reflection of the character of the population that elects them. If my neighborhood is any guide people don't really mind crooks if they think they are getting something out of it. While I find the Mafia personally repugnant before my neighborhood became part of the ghetto it was an Italian enclave. People didn't just tolerate the Mafia they respected them for neighborhood stability and low crime rates. Then war broke out and attitudes changed. The Italian neighborhood came to an end as economic conditions allowed them to move to the suburbs. What this pattern implies is that people mostly operate under the principle of what's in it for them. If you did well under Obama then corrupt Joe doesn't bother you. The moral is that propaganda only works when it's what people want to hear.
The professional class did pretty well under Obama while the deplorables suffered. Cheap imports and protected investments, good paying government jobs and high wages or earnings for the college educated, made the upper middle class content. When Trump came along they had to ask what's in it for me. The truth was not that much in the immediate future. Raising the earnings of the deplorables was only going to make the smelly Wal-Mart shoppers more annoying. The rise of Communist China and the pending derivative crisis was abstract. The decline in educational standards meant that even the college educated were fairly ignorant of history. The real story of the collapse of the U.S. political system is the shift in demographic away from the productive underpinnings of productivity.
The wealthier you are the more cushion you have against societal chaos. The necessities of life become incidentally expenses. Isolated from violent crime and protect against a corrupt legal system by class you lose interest in law and order. Most of the fighting in questionable wars is done by the lower classes. You are even insulated to some extent from inflationary monetary policy. It becomes cheaper to buy off the under classes with welfare and drugs than help them. The communist rioters for the most part don't come to your neighborhood. Spend enough money on education without standards and academia is on your side. It's really not a mystery why the U.S. is so dysfunctional. It was built into segregation by class and luxus.