Why Americans tend more and more to want inexperienced presidential candidates

I don’t actually think the Republicans will nominate Cruz. At least, I hope they won’t, because I am of the old-fashioned belief that it’s helpful for the world’s most powerful leader to know the ropes a bit. The GOP’s usual pattern, with the important exception of Jeb’s impressively green older brother, has been to flirt with a filly but settle on a mare. Republican purists may thrill to outsiders and demagogues, but typically, the amateur candidates self-destruct, the extremists split their votes, and experience prevails. In the end, the whole bizarre GOP primary season turns out to have been a kind of tantrum, something the conservative base needed to get out of its system.

That said, there has never been a tantrum quite like the one that ensued when a pompadoured, potty-mouthed billionaire shot to the top of Republican polls without being a Republican in any meaningful sense, and without possessing political experience in any sense at all, and without saying anything coherent or even intelligible, and without having any chance of winning the presidency.

Mindful that the Donald is not, in fact, going to be president of the United States, I have tried to make sense of his meteoric rise by channeling H. L. Mencken, who called democracy the only really amusing form of government. Besides, it’s healthy for the political system to be permeable to newcomers and disrupters. Right?

Up to a point. By now, however, even antigovernment Republicans ought to be realizing that their infatuation with inexperience is descending into self-parody. And it is self-defeating. Not only do amateur-dominated primaries drive Republican candidates way to the right of the general electorate, complicating the task of winning general elections, but they also force experienced and impressive Republican candidates to campaign against their own strengths.