Written for students, business people, opinion leaders, and everyone interested in politics and America's international reputation, this work begins by explaining the factors that facilitate and constrain various types of political candidates. Rather than concentrating on Trump the individual, however, the book concentrates on the environment that made his candidacy possible, offering a fresh take on what populism looks like in the 21st century, how it has changed, and what those changes mean for its viability and policy consequences moving forward.
One of the book's key goals is to help readers understand why campaign finance reform, although needed, is insufficient to put the U.S. electoral system back on a firm footing. After describing and differentiating the Trump brand of populism from what came before, the book explains how the evolving educational, cultural, economic, and political context of U.S. society allowed a man with Trump's distinctive characteristics to gain the Republican presidential nomination in 2016. It presents and analyzes lessons to be learned from the Trump experience and suggests ways to improve presidential leadership and secure high-quality presidential candidates in the years ahead.