This has been an unprecedented political season with surprising candidates with no experience in political office rising in the polls.

There have been endless attempts to analyze this (Republicans are disenchanted with their leadership in Washington; liberals think Hillary Clinton is too close to Wall Street), but one of the best analysts puts forward a different analysis.

According to Michael Barone, the current state of politics is a rejection of Barack Obama and the last seven years:

In 1960 Richard Nixon, after eight years as vice president and six in Congress, campaigned on the slogan "Experience counts." No one is running on that theme this year.

Nixon could, because over the preceding quarter-century the majority of Americans mostly approved of the performance of incumbent presidents. Presidents Roosevelt, Truman and Eisenhower still look pretty good more than 50 years later.

Barack Obama doesn't. His deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes recently said that the president's nuclear weapons deal with Iran was as important an achievement of his second term as Obamacare was of the first. Historians may well agree.

These two policy achievements have many things in common.

Both were unpopular at the outset but bulldozed into law by legislative sleight-of-hand and remain enormously  unpopular.  But with these laws, Barack Obama made good on his vow to "fundamentally transform" the United States. And most of us don't like it.

Republicans are angry with their leaders in Congress because they have had very little success in thwarting these unwanted changes. Barone notes:

[GOP members of Congress'] successes (clamping down on domestic discretionary spending) have been invisible. They haven't made gains through compromise because Obama, unlike his two predecessors, lacks both the inclination and ability to make deals.

So Republicans who imposed harsh litmus tests in previous presidential cycles (like asking candidates if they've ever supported a tax increase, or if they've ever wavered in their opposition to abortion) are flocking to Donald Trump, a candidate who would fail every one of them.

They are paying little attention to candidates — Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Scott Walker, Chris Christie, Bobby Jindal — who advance serious proposals to change public policy.

Democrats remain loyal to President Obama, according to the polls, but the Democratic candidates also speak of the status quo and none of them are talking about ObamaCare or the Iran deal (unless forced to do so), and that is a tacit admission that the last seven years under a Democratic, hero president have not been so great.

Barone concludes:

Most Americans hoped the first black president would improve race relations. Now most Americans believe they have gotten worse.

And so a president who came to office with relatively little experience has managed to tarnish experience, incumbency and institutions: a fundamental transformation indeed. 

Voters are in a state of (righteous) indignation, and it's not even clear that they'll be listening to the actual policy formulations we'll hear tonight at the second GOP debate.

Nevertheless, Fred Barnes has a good piece on what the candidates should say tonight.