The risk and reward, the excitement and suspense
Are as addictive as the substances peddled and stolen in “The Wire”. You feel like a hero living that life. Heroism is the most addictive feeling particularly for men, especially for young men. And Heroin was named for that feeling because it makes you feel like a hero without doing anything. True story, you know.
From a marketing/advertising campaign perspective this is essentially why Trump won with his slogan Make America Great Again, a heroic message. A call to heroic action. Compare that to Stronger Together. No comparison. Particularly for young men.
Look at the movies. It’s one man against the establishment or the evil empire. Whatever. And you’re fighting the good fight and it gets worse and worse. Everything you try backfires, then you get one last chance and this time, this time, you’re lucky, the stars align. And everybody recognizes that you are the real hero.
That was what Trump did for these guys, let them feel like they could be heroes, like they were heroes for their suffering and for voting for him.