Want to know why Trump and Carson are on top while more serious candidates are stuck in the single digits? Look no farther than the Republican National Committee.

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal was probably the smartest candidate in the field this cycle—a Rhodes Scholar who has a superb academic history and a career of policy innovation at the gubernatorial level—but he becomes the third governor to exit the GOP primary, and arguably the most tested. Jindal has dealt with hurricanes and disasters of enormous scale, he has drained the swamp of corrupt Louisiana politics, and he has pushed the issue of school choice to new heights—but he never caught fire in the presidential field. Why is that?

The answer is simple: Reince Priebus.

The lesson of the Scott Walker, Rick Perry, and Bobby Jindal failures is simple: You can’t run a presidential campaign from the undercard stage. When the RNC decided that they would dictate this debate process from on high, allowing the networks to rely on questionable low-response national polls, they hamstrung all of the lower tier candidates—people who had insufficient name ID to compete with the Donald Trumps of the world.