This year’s Republican primary has been so wacky that we may think that previous races did not have crazy candidates. That is not true. In the 2008 race, there were also people who were nutty as well as a whole bunch of short-lived candidacies by people who quickly faded into obscurity and whose names you have likely forgotten.
The difference this time is that the multitude of debates has given candidates a much longer shelf-life and visibility, and this is likely to increase the likelihood of attention seekers to run in the future. There is one other new wrinkle this time around. One of the side effects of the candidacies of Herman Cain and Donald Trump is that it will likely spawn a lot of future candidates in their mold: Business people who have made a lot of money and are bored with their lives and want some limelight and excitement in the twilight of their careers. They might look at the way Cain went from obscurity to household name and decide that next time around they too will run for president.
While Cain seemed utterly clueless in thinking that his past would not be examined closely, the more cautious among the future rich candidates would run only if there is nothing in their past that will cause them embarrassment. But even that may not deter some because they are so arrogant that they will not realize that what they consider normal behavior toward others may be viewed differently by regular people. These people have lived so long in the bubble that wealth provides, surrounded by toadies who tell them what they want to hear, that they tend to be arrogant and think that nothing can harm them.
So if there is no Republican incumbent in 2016, expect to see a slew of rich businessmen who have never held elected office running for president, portraying themselves as saviors of the country.