In certain circles, the Duggars can do no wrong.
To put it in political terms, the family has a low ceiling, but a high floor:
They’ll never gain the immense popularity of more mainstream reality stars, such as the Kardashians or the Real Housewives, but like President Trump, they enjoy the support of a core group of deeply-entrenched fans who will never abandon them, no matter what comes to light.
This has been key to the Duggars’ continued success, as a less cultishly-adored clan would have been forced from the public eye following the Josh Duggar sex scandals of 2015.
Instead, the Duggars flourished in the years that followed.
They stepped away from television only briefly before returning with the 19 Kids spinoff, Counting On.
As with the family’s first foray into television, the series has never been a ratings juggernaut, but it does well enough to justify its production budget.
Counting On was recently renewed for an 11th season, partially because it’s insanely cheap to produce, and partially because the Duggar faithful would happily tune in to watch Jana read from a phone book.
(One of the reasons the show is so cheap despite its massive cast is the fact that Jim Bob pockets his family’s earnings, but that’s a conversation for another time.)
Of course, fame comes at a significant price for the Duggars, whose critics far outnumber their supporters.
Seeing your every move and your very belief system torn to shreds every time you log on to Twitter or Facebook would be exhausting for anyone — but Jim Bob has a safeguard against criticism fatigue.
In this way, too, the family a lot like the Trump administration.
Except instead of Trump aides carefully filtering the media message in order to protect their boss’ feelings, it’s Jim Bob sheltering his children from facts and opinions that he deems harmful.
The ongoing Duggars vs. sanity war has given rise to entire online communities, such as the r/duggarsnark subbreddit, where critics of the family can express their distaste with humorous memes and frustrated tirades.
The situation is enough to raise the question of why Jim Bob would continue to subject his family to an endless barrage of criticism.
The answer, in a word, is money.
If it weren’t for the fact that Jim Bob was desperate for cash, the 19 Kids/Counting On franchise likely would have come to an end years ago.
Insiders have described Jim Bob as a "high class hoarder" who’s forever overextending himself with ambitious business ventures that rarely yield a profit.
And so, he continues to present his children to the world as punching bags so that might continue to line his pockets.
But the routine is unsustainable and these days, Jim Bob is dealing with a new threat from within.
In recent months, the feud between Jim Bob and Derick Dillard has shined a light on the ugly side of the Duggar’s business practices.
It was Derick who called Jim Bob out for embezzling money from his own children.
And now, Derick’s message seems to be having an effect on JB’s longest-suffering victims — his daughters.
It’s been reported that a full-blown anti-Jim Bob rebellion is underway, spearheaded by fan favorites Jill and Jessa.
There was a time when we didn’t think anything could turn the Duggar faithful away from Jim Bob.
But it’s possible even the most diehard fans — the ones who deafened themselves against the facts — will finally listen up when Jim Bob’s daughters speak out.