I did not mean to say that all popular people are assholes (it seems to me you understood my post like that).
1. The people I mean treat people who they see "below them" without respect, insult them and what not, thinking they are something better. Regarding the "nerd kids", I saw very mixed behaviours. Some were like you said very hostile to other people (although I find this is not always without reason), some seem to be awkward about it and don't really seem to know what to do with it, and some are rather open but without self-confidence and so may be passive.
2. That it is easier to gain economic benefits when you are egoistic in your behaviour is rather obvious, yeah. This is not what I was going on for though.
3. "conversely, people who are passive are not likely to be popular because everyone knows that they're pathetic and too weak to get anything done." I cannot lie that I find this statement rather disgruntling. Such kinds of judgements are not really my way of how I think and judge people. I never understood why some people have this attitude. Possibly I might fit myself for you in this area of passive pathetic people anyway though (before it swings back, my self-image looks a little different) and probably I am just envious in your opinion...
4. Yes, that may be true in some cases, I mean though douchebags which indeed don't seem to suffer any bad reputation although they behave like douchebags.
5. Yes, that might be possible in many cases and might be a key point. It would make sense. However not standing up against one asshole is one thing, but hanging around with or even supporting the same person is another thing I would guess. I could imagine that those people want to profit from the lobby (or lets better say authority) the asshole has for themselves in some way too.
6. Well, I don't live in America, but this is pretty true for most countries I would think.