“How did it come about that we have five such unimpressive contenders for the presidency of the United States? Is there something in our system of electing candidates that makes inevitable the rise of the mediocre and even the exaltation of the vulgar?” asks Epstein in the WSJ.
John Kasich talks endlessly about his own accomplishments—balancing the national budget, working splendidly with those across the aisle when in Congress, in Ohio wiping out ISIS—in a manner off-putting even to voters who want to like him.
Ted Cruz, the very model of the contrast gainer, looks good only in contrast to Donald Trump.
Donald Trump’s vulgarity is nonpareil … the vulgar quality of his speech, his thought, his very sentiments.
Bernie Sanders … nothing more than a digitally remastered 1930s replay.
Hillary Clinton who day after day exhaustingly argues on behalf of all those things—justice, equality, fairness to women—that in their personal life she and her husband flouted.
And those no longer running?
Marco Rubio, in another time, a successful siding salesman.
Carly Fiorina—a scolding grammar-school principal.
Martin O’Malley—who let this guy off the used-car lot?
Why do superior people stay away from politics? Mr. Epstein notes that, for example, Republican governor of Indiana Mitch Daniels steered clear of presidential politics because “he had no wish to put his family through the humiliation that accompanies running for the office.”