Re: anonymous coward
Contrary to much opinion, votes count in US elections. The rules may be a bit convoluted (e. g., the electoral college). They may deviate from some ideal (e. g., two senators from each state irrespective of population, or declining to let convicted felons vote, sometimes even by those who served their sentence in full). Most importantly, votes count only if they actually are cast.
Donald Trump was elected president because he channeled and fed back to enough voters (not just eligible-to-voters) what they already believed. Russians may have helped, by their tweets, their Facebook and other ads, and their release of stolen DNC and DCCC emails, some of which doubtless caused extreme embarrassment. In the end, because of the facts that underlie political opinion research, it will be essentially impossible to determine how much, or even in what direction, Russian dirty tricks affected the election outcome. It should be noted that nothing the Russians are alleged to have done is qualitatively different from campaign practices well enough known from years past. Doubters may wish to consider the US elections of 1972 (Nixon, Watergate), or 1800 and 1804 (Thomas Jefferson). There are other examples.
Donald Trump was elected as a Republican, to a large degree by voters who identified as Republicans. GOP "fealty to the cult-leader" is a direct result of that fact and the fact that almost all elected officials become job seekers in inverse relation to the time remaining to the next election. Those elected from districts where 2016 support for Trump was great will be very hesitant to call out Trump unless he does something that clearly and decisively offends constituents. Note that this is true almost as much for Democrats as Republicans. Unless Trump really goes far afield, we are hardly more likely to see strong, unambiguous, anti-Trump statements from the Democrats Heidi Heitkamp (D-SD) or Joe Manchin (D-WV) than from John Hoeven (R-SD) or Shelley Caputo (R-WV).
Free trade and national security and foreign policy considerations notwithstanding, Republican politicians and operatives know that in many areas it will not go well for them to oppose Trump too strenuously despite the fact that the associated policies are generally terrible and lead to nothing good in the long run. They will stand with Trump until election results free them, in many cases by installing Democrats in their place. And not a minute longer.
H. L. Mencken's Baltimore Evening Sun political reports, many available in collections, should be required reading for anyone who hopes to understand US politics. They ring as true now, six decades after his death as when written between 1920 and 1950.