Barone notes voters’ turn against expertise

Michael Barone‘s latest column notes voter distrust of “experts.”

I call it the revolt against the experts.

It has been going on for a long time. In the years after World War II, when pollsters first started testing confidence in leaders and institutions, mid-century Americans expressed great confidence and respect for experts and those at the head of large organizations.

This was an unsurprising result, since the leaders of big government, big business, and big labor had produced a glorious victory in World War II and then seemed to produce postwar prosperity when almost everyone expected a return to depression.

Confidence in leaders and respect for expertise fell in the years that gave us the Vietnam War, Watergate, and stagflation. They’re at a low point now, after years in which experts seemed to fail in Iraq and at home. …

… In the 2008 electoral cycle, Democratic primary voters, caucus-goers, and super-delegates chose a candidate with minimal experience in either foreign or domestic policy and no executive experience at all. But Barack Obama seemed to have other strengths. In the financial crisis, he was no more than a helpful bystander. But he zoomed ahead of John McCain in the polls and was elected.

Now Republicans are zooming from one low-expertise candidate to another. Bachmann has never run anything but a small business. Cain ran a pizza company and lost an election for senator. Perry showed little interest in national issues in his first ten years as governor of Texas.

Mitch Kokai / Senior Political Analyst

Mitch Kokai is senior political analyst for the John Locke Foundation. He joined JLF in December 2005 as director of communications. That followed more than four years as chie...

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