Donald Trump Courting Sarah Palin’s Supporters

Donald Trump's campaign seems to be making a play for whatever portion of the GOP it may be that still likes Sarah Palin.

Sarah Palin Meets With Donald Trump In New York During Her Bus Tour

The New York Times reports that Donald Trump seems to be making a play for whatever might be left of the so-called “Palin vote”:

Donald J. Trump appears to be making a serious play for the “Mama Grizzly” vote.

This week the Republican presidential candidate flattered Sarah Palin — who gave herself the bear of a nickname — calling her a “strong” and “special” person and proclaiming that he would love to have her in his cabinet if he won the White House.

On Thursday, Mr. Trump showed another sign of respect for Ms. Palin, hiring Michael Glassner to be his campaign’s national political director. Mr. Glassner was chief of staff for Ms. Palin’s political action committee and worked closely with her when she ran for vice president alongside Senator John McCain in 2008.

“Mr. Glassner will certainly be an asset to us as we further cement our dominance in the 2016 G.O.P. field,” Mr. Trump said in a statement.

Mr. Trump’s anti-establishment persona and sometimes angry rhetoric has tapped into the frustration that many Republicans feel toward centrists in the party. A comparison of Quinnipiac polls from this summer and 2011, when Ms. Palin was considering her own presidential bid before deciding against it, shows that she and Mr. Trump both have strong appeal among Catholics, evangelical Christians, lower income voters and those without a college education.

Ms. Palin’s supporters have taken notice of Mr. Trump’s attention, and many are hopeful it will pave the way for her return to politics. Ms. Palin’s Facebook page tends to be a forum for venting against Democrats, but lately it has become a platform for pushing a Trump/Palin ticket.

“I’m hoping Sarah will run with Donald Trump when the time comes,” Rose Hamilton wrote on Ms. Palin’s page. “I think they will be the dynamic duo and be great for our country.”

Rick Lewis of Iowa suggested that Ms. Palin would make the perfect secretary of state in a Trump administration, presumably complementing his economic expertise.

Some of Ms. Palin’s supporters, however, still feel that she would be selling herself short settling for a vice presidential slot again.

“My dream ticket, however, would have Sarah at the top of the ticket!” said John Gregory, of Oregon.

Palin, of course, has largely faded from the political scene. While she did play a minor role in some of the 2014 Republican primary contests, she was not very involved in the General Election campaign and, unlike 2012, has not even hinted at the possibility that she might run for President. More recently, her contract with Fox News Channel came to an end in a manner that makes it seem as though she won’t be on the network as anything other than an occasional guest in the future and her Internet subscription video channel came to an abrupt end. At the same time, though, that doesn’t mean that Palin has complete disappeared. She still posts occasions rants on Facebook and, just this week, posted at piece at Breitbart that was very supportive of Donald Trump:

Days after Donald Trump talked up the idea of putting Sarah Palin in his administration, the former Republican vice presidential candidate and tea party favorite is showing she’s got Trump’s back.

Palin wrote Friday on the conservative Breitbart news site that Trump’s candidacy will continue to appeal to “ordinary Americans” despite what she described as a bludgeon of attacks from GOP elites, pundits and the media.

Calling Trump’s candidacy “a shot in the arm for ordinary Americans fed up with the predictable poll-tested blather of squishy milquetoast career politicians,” Palin argued that Trump’s style and message is appealing to voters and that he is tapping into “major populist grievances.”

And Palin also defended Trump from criticism that is bubbling up in certain conservative circles that Trump’s flip-flops on key conservative issues prove he is not a true conservative.

“‘But he changed his mind on positions!'” Palin wrote, echoing recent criticisms. “Reagan had been an FDR Democrat. Should we hold that against him or be grateful he saw the light?”

Palin also defended Trump’s contributions to Democratic campaign coffers, arguing in the same way Trump has that those donations are the cost of business in the largely liberal city of New York.

“If he was building it in Salt Lake City, I’m sure he would have donated to Republicans,” she wrote.

Palin has yet to endorse Trump or any other candidate in the Republican primary but has been supportive of Trump’s message, which appears to be resonating with Palin supporters.

On some level, of course, it’s not surprising to see a potential convergence between Trump and Palin at this point in the 2016 election cycle. On some level, both politicians appeal to their supporters in the same way through the use of emotion-laden arguments that are mostly lacking in substance combined with a rhetorical style that makes the speaker sound far smarter than they actually are. Indeed, while I haven’t seen any confirmation of this fact I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some overlap between the people who are or have been Sarah Palin supporters in the past are now people who are rallying behind the bizarre, xenophobic candidacy of Donald Trump. This also isn’t the first time that Palin has spoken positively about the real estate developer notwithstanding his history of bizarre comments. Four years ago, when Trump was in the midst of his campaign to “prove” that President Obama was not both in the United States, Palin was appearing on cable news cheering Trump on and implicitly endorsing birther position that had long before been factually discredited. During the 2012 election cycle, Palin was among the bevy of Republican politicians who came to New York City to supplicate themselves in Trump’s office. Given that, and also taking into account Palin’s long demonstrated need to keep herself in the news, it’s not entirely surprising to see her jumping on the Trump bandwagon even just a little but, and it’s even less surprising that her pro-Trump rant would appear at Breitbart News, which has become little more than a shill for the Trump campaign over the past month and a half.

The fact that Trump has hired one of Palin’s closest former advisers seems to indicate that his campaign thinks that tapping into this wing of the Republican Party is a smart political move. Given their success so far, it’s kind of hard to argue with the strategy, but it’s difficult to see how it is viable in the long term. Even before her recent departure from Fox, Palin’s influence in the GOP had declined far below what it may have been in the past, so it’s unclear that appealing to her supporters is going to accomplish of anything. Additionally, the fact that Palin and Trump are two of the most disliked Republicans in the country would seem to suggest that this is an strategy that doesn’t really make much sense when you think about. Then again, there’s a lot about the Trump campaign that doesn’t make much sense when you think about.

FILED UNDER: Campaign 2016, Politicians, Sarah Palin, US Politics,
Doug Mataconis
About Doug Mataconis
Doug holds a B.A. in Political Science from Rutgers University and J.D. from George Mason University School of Law. He joined the staff of OTB in May 2010. Before joining OTB, he wrote at Below The BeltwayThe Liberty Papers, and United Liberty Follow Doug on Twitter | Facebook

Comments

  1. Ron Beasley says:

    Clowns and grifters will be clowns and grifters – nothing to see here!

  2. PogueMahone says:

    There is an analogy comparing a Trump/Palin ticket to auto-erotic asphyxiation… but this is a public forum, so it would be inappropriate.

  3. gVOR08 says:

    …about a quarter saying they would consider voting for him (Trump)for president.

    So, as expected, pretty much the 27% crazification factor. IIRC self-identified Rs are about 38% of the electorate. So 70% of GOPs would consider voting for Trump. Because they identify with a multi-billionaire and believe he shares their concerns. I have got to invent an emoticon for shaking head slowly and sadly side-to-side.

  4. James in Silverdale, WA says:

    Trump should just hire Tina Fey. She’s a lot smarter and has the schtick nailed.

  5. CSK says:

    If there’s one thing that would absolutely ensure a Democratic victory in 2016, that would be a Trump/Palin ticket. The two of them will probably have fun for a while teasing the rubes with the possibility.

    You can draw a direct line from Palin supporters to Cruz supporters to Trump supporters.

    I suspect Ted is waiting in the wings to scoop up the Trumpets and Trumpettes once Donald decides to bail.

  6. CSK says:

    If there’s one thing that would absolutely ensure a Democratic victory in 2016, that would be a Trump/Palin ticket. The two of them will probably have fun for a while teasing the rubes with the possibility.

    You can draw a direct line from Palin supporters to Cruz supporters to Trump supporters.

    I suspect Cruz is waiting in the wings to scoop up the Trumpets and Trumpettes once Donald decides to bail.

  7. OzarkHillbilly says:

    “I’m hoping Sarah will run with Donald Trump when the time comes,” Rose Hamilton wrote on Ms. Palin’s page. “I think they will be the dynamic duo and be great for our country.”

    Rick Lewis of Iowa suggested that Ms. Palin would make the perfect secretary of state in a Trump administration, presumably complementing his economic expertise.

    Behold, I give you, the Republican base.

  8. Just 'nutha ig'rant cracker says:

    It just keeps getting weirder and weirder. A pseudo-billionaire property flipper can become the populist voice of America. Where else could this happen? It’s stuff like this that make America unique among the nations of the world.

  9. michael reynolds says:

    @Just ‘nutha ig’rant cracker:

    I disagree. It’s a sign that we are sinking to the level of Italy and Berlusconi. Unfortunately the world is chock full of nations led by buffoons.

    It’s the end of American exceptionalism, we are down in the gutter with everyone else now and we clever folk, we cognoscenti, are laughing. Well, might as well laugh, comedy takes the edge off tragedy.

  10. Gustopher says:

    I think I would actually consider voting for a Trump/Palin ticket.

    I don’t think it would be good for the country as a whole, I don’t think it would be good for me personally, I don’t think it would be good for anyone actually (including Trump and Palin), but there’s something so compelling about such a complete disaster. It would be a Greek Tragedy level of disaster.

  11. T says:

    @Gustopher: Some men just want to watch the world burn.

  12. OzarkHillbilly says:

    @michael reynolds: The only other choice is to cry.

  13. Tillman says:

    @Gustopher: it’d be like America was an art project the rest of the world produced. It had a great premise, poor execution throughout, but damn it went in some odd directions and really made you think.

  14. grumpy realist says:

    Interesting analysis of the Republican bench as the gang who can’t shoot straight.

    I’ve always felt that the candidates for POTUS always fall into one of two baskets–one, those who are actual statesmen. The other basket is filled with people who can’t hack it anywhere else so they run for POTUS. It’s a case of ego being larger than their abilities.

  15. Franklin says:

    Rick Lewis of Iowa suggested that Ms. Palin would make the perfect secretary of state in a Trump administration

    Well, maybe, but don’t Secretaries of State usually have to know something?

  16. grumpy realist says:

    @Franklin: Considering what a Trump Administration would invariably be like, Sarah Palin is the Platonic Ideal of a Trump Secretary of State.

    Are we certain that these critters aren’t Manchurian Candidates programmed by the Chinese?

  17. DrDaveT says:

    @grumpy realist:

    Are we certain that these critters aren’t Manchurian Candidates programmed by the Chinese?

    The Chinese are good, but they aren’t that good. Clever Asian conspiracies have no chance against good old homegrown American stupid.