You don’t need a Ph.D. to lead the nation, but you do need to know–as Trump did not appear to grasp in one of the debates–what the nuclear triad is. Or that the Quds and the Kurds, not to mention Hamas and Hizballah, are different things. Or that you can’t order military officers to engage in illegal torture. Or that Ted Cruz’s father was not linked to the Kennedy assassination. Or that Barack Obama was born in Hawaii, not Kenya. At his first joint appearance with Clinton on the campaign trail, President Obama put the matter clearly: “You’ve actually got to know what you’re talking about.”To be fair Jon Meacham gives time to the Trumpian counter-argument:
As [Trump] likes to point out, if the elites are so smart, then why is the world in the shape it’s in–and why, exactly, is he now the Republican nominee? [snip]Throughout the campaign the Trump-is-too-risky argument has been made by people who are doing just fine in the current system. So far they've been outnumbered by those who fear more of the same.
“Government is built with many layers to avoid making mistakes,” wrote Jared Kushner, Trump’s son-in-law and one of the nominee’s most important advisers. “The problem with this is that it costs a lot and little gets done. In business, we empower smart people to get jobs done and give them latitude on how to get there. I prefer to move forward and endure some small mistakes to preserving a stale status quo whose sole virtue is that it offends no one.” In this construction, lack of knowledge and a get-stuff-done attitude would be assets–even if they sometimes get stuff wrong and break some geopolitical crockery along the way.
Come November, we'll see which fears carry the day.