A Lesson From The Republican Campaign

The Republican presidential campaign of 2015-2016 has already taught us one very important thing. Wisdom untested is conventional wisdom, and conventional wisdom has limited value. The conventional wisdom was that a governor would be the party’s nominee for president. By having not only experience as a chief executive (we should call them Chief Governing Officers, or CGOs) but also a clear body of achievement, such governors as Scott Walker, Jeb Bush, or one of many others would have a great advantage in winning the party’s presidential nomination. Be honest–nearly everyone thought that who had an informed opinion on the subject, myself included. But something happened. A second element overtook the attractiveness of proven CGO experience. That element, of course, was and is and will be the frustration of many voters with the status quo both as a system and a set of policies. In the struggle between CGOs and voter frustration, voter frustration wins. The lesson here is to test conventional wisdom constantly, against other thoughts, trends, and dynamics. The longer it goes untested, the faster its value disappears.