The Conservative tools for keeping the Base too dumb and distracted to notice how thoroughly their party is screwing them over are passed proudly down from each generation of wingnut leadership to the next.
From me in 2006:
These are the wedge issues the GOP dredges up cycle after cycle to crank the Base of the Party up to Scared Shitless and White Hot Loco just in time for each election. It is why the GOP can fuck up whole countries and leave entire American cities to die without fear of being voted out of office 99-to-1 in every district everywhere. Because if you give mouthbreathers enough fags, burning flags and Terror Alerts around election time it’ll crowd the entire record of Republican perfidy, bloodshed and failure right out of their itty bitty heads.
From Don the Con today:
Nobody should be allowed to burn the American flag - if they do, there must be consequences - perhaps loss of citizenship or year in jail!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) November 29, 2016