Cain and the revolt against experts
At the moment, national polls show Herman Cain leading or tied for the lead in the race for the Republican presidential nomination. This, despite the fact that he has never won an election, has never held public office (except on a regional Federal Reserve advisory panel), and has shown prodigious ignorance on some important foreign policy and domestic issues.
We in the punditocracy have been attributing Cain's lead to many conservatives' resistance to frequent frontrunner Mitt Romney. Many have described Cain as the flavor of the month and have predicted his numbers will collapse, as Michele Bachmann's and Rick Perry's have. Reasonable analysis, as far as it goes. But I think Cain's current lead is evidence of a larger and longer-range trend that is both heartening and disturbing.
I call it the revolt against the experts.
...This could be one reason for Cain's success, but I think much of it is because Cain comes across as the most likable candidate on the debate stage. He has a warm and winning personality that comes across even when he is under attack.
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.