Is it any surprise that this stale, cynical process was ripe for disruption by a candidate who declined to repeat any of the old clichés? Who smashed its snoozy inoffensiveness, upended its lazy tropes? Who seemed not to have any guy-behind-the-guy pulling his strings, and to say exactly what was in his head—no matter how weird or outrageous—at all times?
Over and over in the conference sessions, the consultants talked about the importance of “authenticity.” How, they wondered, could this quality, which voters seemed to prize so highly, be manufactured? The irony seemed to escape them.