In an era of wrenching economic and social change, voters bet their hopes on a little-tested leader who a) echoed their disillusionment, b) pledged to end polarization, c) defied his party’s extremists, d) embraced the task of tackling big problems, e) and seemed authentic.
And so it happened in 1992, 2000 and 2008 that Bill Clinton, George W. Bush and Barack Obama became president. Judging by his rhetoric after a landslide re-election Tuesday, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie hopes to package himself as the “Perfect Candidate for Troubled Times,” version 4.0.
Voters crave – and the nation needs – a transformational president to lead America into the post-industrial era, just as Theodore Roosevelt reset U.S. political and social institutions for the post-agricultural era. But after three less-than-promised presidencies, voters may not be inclined to buy the hype.
And yet, it begins.