For example, the proposed Photo ID Amendment in Minnesota. There are certainly a great many righties that can't wait to vote "yes" because they honestly believe, first and foremost, that "vote fraud" really is a huge problem, to the point that Sen. Al Franken (D-MN), Governor Mark Dayton, and even President Barack Obama "stole" their elections, outright. (This generally goes to steadfast belief in an essential right-wing myth, namely, the existence of a huge conservative "silent majority" that doesn't talk to pollsters.) But there must also be those who know that that is complete and utter BS; they're voting "yes" because they believe suppression of non-conservative votes is entirely justified, to keep everything from being taken over by the hippie communist homosexual atheist liberals. And, it must be admitted, there are a lot of lazy, uninformed types of every political persuasion who will likely vote "yes" because, well, what's the big deal, it's not asking much, to keep our elections "clean" - unless we get to them with the facts, in time, that is. But, that latter group isn't the focus of this little screed.
I don't purport to provide a comprehensive answer to the question posed in the title. I'm really just touching on it, below the fold, because it's a big one. Here's how it might be presented in a simple way. "Wholly naïve" means the true believers referenced first in the opening paragraph; "wholly knowing" are the cynical manipulators.
That is, it's a continuum, and people generally fall somewhere along it, not at either of the extremes. Not completely "knowing" or "naïve," but a mixture of the two. Even conservatives are complicated, that way.
So where does, for example, Rep. "Crazy" Michele Bachmann (R-MN) fall on this scale? It's tempting to just pronounce that it's pretty much to the left edge, but I don't think that that's accurate. Rather, it varies with the issue and the context. On the whole, yes, the likes of her probably land more toward "wholly naïve" than does someone like Rep. John Kline (R-MN). But, no way is that to be taken for granted, on an issue-by-issue, day-in-and-day-out basis. Bachmann is certainly capable of sounding reasonable, and Kline is certainly known to come across as a fanatical lunatic.
But what they undoubtedly have in common in those delusional, pitiful right-wing pea brains of theirs, is absolute, unyielding conviction that their side must stay in power, both to hold off the end of the world as we know it, and because they, personally, must stay in power. Though I doubt that they're particularly honest with themselves, on that last one.
It's the complexity and variability of all this, I would suggest, that makes it just about impossible to "reach" hard-liners, and get them to acknowledge reality and reason. If their political views could really just be attributed to "wedge issues" or "authoritarianism," things might be different, and easier. (Don't get me wrong; both of those are big factors. But, among many others.)
A bluegrass/folk/country banjo/guitar god, Doug Dillard, passed away recently. This is from an album he did in 1968, with Gene Clark.