The next president of the United States will confront a virulent jihadist threat, mounting effects of climate change, and an economy becoming ever more unequal.We’re going to need an especially wise and able leader.Yet our process for choosing that person is a circus, and several leading candidates are clowns.How have we come to this?First, anyone with enough ego and money can now run for president. This wasn’t always the case. Political parties used to sift through possible candidates and winnow the field. Now the parties play almost no role. Anyone with some very wealthy friends can set up a Super PAC. According to a recent New York Times investigation, half the money to finance the 2016 election so far has come from just 158 families.Or if you’re a billionaire, you can finance your own campaign.And if you’re sufficiently outlandish, outrageous, and outspoken, a lot of your publicity will be free. Since he announced his candidacy last June, Trump hasn’t spent any money at all on television advertising.