But any time a new product is billed as the best of all possible worlds, it could wind up being the worst of all possible worlds instead. A certain type of tablet computer might be advertised as a perfect substitute for both a laptop and a smartphone, for example. But it could turn out to be worse than a laptop at laptop things and worse than a smartphone at smartphone things, leaving pretty much no one satisfied.

Likewise, Walker seemed to be nobody’s first choice — to the point that he polled at an asterisk (less than 1 percent of the vote) in CNN’s most recent poll after the second Republican debate. Voters craving a political outsider had shinier objects to chase down — most notably, Donald Trump. But Walker wasn’t doing all that well with the establishment either, having received just one endorsement from Republican governors or members of Congress since April, having (reportedly) had trouble balancing his campaign’s budget, and having developed a reputation for being gaffe-prone on the campaign trail.