Donald Trump tells TODAY’s Savannah Guthrie he hasn’t discussed the possibility of Sarah Palin being his running mate — but there “certainly would be a role somewhere in the administration” for her if he was elected.
“I haven’t discussed anything with her about what she’d do, but she’s somebody I really like and I respect, and certainly she could play a position if she wanted to,” Trump said of the former Alaska governor, who threw her backing behind the real estate mogul on Tuesday.
At the rally I talked with Jamie Johnson, a veteran Iowa politico who supported Rick Santorum in 2012 and Rick Perry earlier in this race, but is now unaffiliated. Johnson saw the Palin move entirely in terms of persuading voters at the margins of the Trump vs. Cruz contest…
“Probably 15 to 20 percent of the people who caucus. I’d say 15 to 20 percent would identify themselves as Tea Partiers more than anything else, such as born-again evangelicals.”
“And you would expect that some of them are caught on the fence now between Trump and Cruz?”
“I know for a fact that they are,” Johnson replied. “I’ve talked to several people in the last two months who have been on the fence between Trump and Cruz. So if they’re on the fence, this might be just enough to push them over.”
There was no ecstasy in the crowd when the former Alaska governor and vice presidential nominee endorsed Republican front-runner Donald Trump at a rally in Ames, Iowa, on Tuesday night. And at Trump’s next appearance on Wednesday in Norwalk, people who came to see him – both hard-core Trump supporters and undecided voters – said Palin was not swaying them.
“They’re going to have to do an image remake of her,” said Joani Estes, 56, of Indianola, Iowa. Estes said her Pentecostal Christian faith made her feel aligned with Palin, but it did not make her feel any more strongly about Trump. She liked him, she said, and was likely going to caucus for him during the state’s nominating contest on Feb. 1 – but she was also keeping the door open for his closest rival, U.S. Senator Ted Cruz of Texas.
Her friend Jenny Terrell, 55, said Palin’s endorsement made her less certain about her support for Trump. A longtime Democrat, Terrell said she had been inspired by Trump but was put off by Palin’s extreme opposition to abortion rights.
“I was a little disappointed,” she said, adding that even though she knew Trump had declared himself to be against abortion, she did not see him as being as fervently anti-abortion as Palin.
That may be an unfair question, but it’s perfectly fair to put it this way: “What has Donald Trump done for Sarah Palin?” Meaning, what has Trump done to promote the values that Palin’s supporters have been advocating for the past eight years?…
Trump was for the $700 billion bailout program, which is as establishment as it gets. He was for the subsequent auto bailout, too…
Obamacare? Sure, Trump says he wants to repeal it, but his plan only seems to involve more government. “I’m going to take care of everybody…the government’s gonna pay for it,” he has previously said. Thousands of people protested against Obamacare in 2009, joining together in our nation’s Capital that March. Trump, most likely, would have been welcomed on the stage. But Trump wasn’t there. In fact, Trump wasn’t anywhere to be seen or heard from around that time — When it mattered…
More recently, however, he’s shown an arrogant willingness to tell private enterprise where it may do business. As president, Trump boasted, he would force Apple and Ford Motor Company to build their products in the United States.
This isn’t the behavior one expects from a consistent conservative; it’s what’s expected from a dictator.
Palin’s son, Trig, has Down’s Syndrome. When Jack Steuf, a Wonkette writer, wrote a post mocking Trig (“Oh little boy, what are you dreaming about? What’s he dreaming about? Nothing. He’s retarded.”), it was met with immediate backlash and an advertiser boycott. #TrigsCrew became a popular hashtag with conservatives on Twitter, as well as other parents of special needs children. Palin herself tweeted to thank everyone who had supported Trig.
Palin was more vocal after a Family Guy episode that also seemed to target Trig — the plot involved Chris going on a date with a girl who has Down’s Syndrome whose mother is “the former governor of Alaska” — posting a Facebook rant written with her daughter Bristol. Palin called the episode a “kick in the gut” and Bristol called the writers “heartless jerks.”
Trump infamously mocked reporter Serge Kovaleski’s physical disability, after not liking a critical article Kovaleski had written about him. Kovaleski has arthrogryposis, which limits the functioning of his joints, and the video shows Trump holding up his hands in a claw-like manner and making similar jerking gestures that are the markers of this disability.
This was far from the first time Trump has mocked someone’s disability after they criticized him. He attacked Charles Krauthammer, who is in a wheelchair, as a “loser” who “just sits there,” and called him “a guy who can’t buy a pair of pants.”
If his world-view weren’t enough to make Palin cringe, Trump’s inauthenticity as an anti-establishment candidate should be. Palin admirably took on what she called the “good old boy network” to become Alaska’s first female governor. Now, she leaps to support a guy who helped create that network and who thrives in it. In what bizarre world is a billionaire real estate mogul who donates money to Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Harry Reid “anti-establishment”?…
The Sarah Palin I knew in 2008 — the one who campaigned tirelessly and many times thanklessly for John McCain, a war veteran Trump has openly mocked — would have seen through Trump’s charlatan candidacy. The Sarah Palin I knew in 2008, a devout Christian whose faith was constantly scrutinized by the secular left, would have no affection for a man who is constantly scrutinizing the devout Christian faiths of other conservative candidates.
The Sarah Palin I knew in 2008, who was a passionate and fearless voice for hockey moms, mama grizzlies and women everywhere, all while enduring patently sexist attacks from the left, wouldn’t have supported a man who calls other women bimbos and slobs, thinks women who breast-feed and go to the bathroom are “disgusting,” and criticizes another candidate for her looks.
How did we get from Sarah Palin in 2008 to Donald Trump in 2016? Because the Right has been tempted to sell its soul by putting personality over principle and emotion over reason. We have been tempted into embracing as our leaders and spokesmen a series of media personalities whose main selling point is that they are outrageous and controversial and like to stick a finger in they eye of the Mainstream Media and infuriate “the Establishment” and the “PC Left.”…
As I argued back in 2008, what Palin really stood for in people’s minds was a kind of cultural populism, which denounces Hollywood and the Mainstream Media in the same way Bernie Sanders rails against Wall Street and billionaires. Which is fine as far as it goes. But without ideological substance, it just means defining yourself negatively: I am against whatever the Mainstream Media is for. And if you let yourself be defined that way, you will end up looking for someone whose sole recommendation is that he says outrageous things that offend people.
It’s no wonder that a bunch of these fading “outrageous personality” types have come out in favor of Trump, so much so that Trump is being hailed as the man who saved talk radio. I don’t think the better talk radio hosts needed much saving, by the way. But the second-raters whose only shtick was “being outrageous”? They sure did. And Trump has energized them because his whole campaign is modeled on their approach…
Trump is the price we’re paying for Palin and Coulter and for every other media celebrity on the Right who made a career out of being “outrageous” rather than being ideological coherent.
I must confess that it’s a bit much to see the avalanche of conservative mockery and heckling directed at her for her endorsement of Donald Trump. I’m not saying she’s beyond criticism or that one should support Trump because of her endorsement (I haven’t made up my own mind yet, and I swing almost daily between Cruz and Rubio), but perhaps we should consider that the combination of her personal relationship with Trump, her personal experience suffering from years of the most vicious and personal attacks directed at any current or former politician in the United States, and her deep convictions regarding policy priorities for the next president have led her to this decision. In other words, she’s not simply hunting for headlines — she’s doing what she thinks is best for the country she loves.
And I understand her perspective. If Sarah believes Trump’s assurances about his pro-life views and newfound respect for the Second Amendment (and she has a closer relationship with him than anyone who’s attacking her), why wouldn’t she — of all people — find his “punch back twice as hard” disdain for political correctness appealing? And if she has long mixed her conservatism with a populist streak, it should shock exactly no one that Trump’s populism wouldn’t be a deal-breaker. She’s been a voice for the working-class Americans most neglected by both parties’ establishments — the very people who are filling arenas at Trump rallies across the land.
At the end of the day, we all make leaps of faith in supporting candidates. Conservative Rubio supporters, for example, are making a leap of faith in believing that he’s learned the right lessons from the Gang of Eight debacle and from the abject failure of the Libyan intervention. Cruz supporters are taking on faith that the relentless attacks on his honesty and Christian character are flat wrong — that he’s not the person so many people say he is. Some of us try to minimize the length of our leap by conferring with trusted friends, seeking “insider” information, and by studying political records and policy positions. Many others act on gut instincts and first impressions. Palin is asking voters to take a long leap of faith with Trump. She may be wrong, but I have no doubt that she’s asking in good faith.
On social media sites and conservative listservs, it was easy to find people despairing of conservative Republicanism. They claimed to not recognize Palin, the Tea Party, or even conservatism itself anymore. And these were just the self-described conservatives, not to mention their libertarian allies.
But the Tea Party was always paradoxically a mixture of libertarianism and red-state identity politics. The former was as much a rebuke to George W. Bush as Barack Obama and the latter’s adherents would have been at home with a Republican president who made Bush look like Ron Paul. It was always partly about fighting the left and partly about fighting bipartisan big government. It was always one part Hayek’s Road to Serfdom, another part your uncle’s chain emails about Obama’s long-form birth certificate…
For most people politics is about personality, identity, and group loyalties. This is more like rooting for a sports team than support for particular ideas, ideology, or policy. It’s always has been this way and probably always will be. Even plenty of deeply ideological people who marched in the streets during Bush’s Iraq war made nary a peep when Obama bombed Libya; lots of people on the other side would have soured on Iraq much sooner if the war had been ordered by President Hillary Clinton instead…
A lot of American fiscal conservatism isn’t libertarianism per se but actually social conservatism, a form of the Protestant work ethic. Conservatives have struggled to persuade even their own voters to fight for limited government when programs aren’t being pushed by liberal Democrats they distrust and benefit people who work. If a nontrivial percentage of culturally conservative white voters no longer sees a meaningful connection between limited government and their values, interests, or even livelihoods, that’s going to be a problem for the right that outlasts Trump.
“The Trump triumph — the Trump coalition — is exposing the fact that it isn’t conservative orthodoxy, or conservatism or any of the hard work of the conservative elite,” explained Limbaugh, “that is causing people to be conservative.”
“It’s something really simple… They’re fed up with the modern day Democratic Party… The Republican Party establishment does not understand this. They do not know who their conservative voters are. They’ve over-estimated their conservatism… They’re not liberals. They’re not Democrat. Many of them do not want to be thought of as conservatives for a host of reasons. So somebody who comes along and is able to convey that he or she understands why they’re angry and furthermore, is going to do everything to fix it, is going to own them. What’s happening here is that ‘nationalism’ — dirty word, ooh people hate it — and ‘populism’ — even dirtier word. Nationalism and populism have overtaken conservatism in terms of appeal.”
“Conservatives” aren’t all actually conservative. I’m considered a sort of “hard rightwing conservative firebrand” or something, but in fact I’m really a pissed off liberal who’s angry that self-claimed “liberals” claim a string of propositions, most of which I agree with, and then proceeds to violate all of these claims without any compunctions at all, in order to gain political power and pay off political constituents…
I don’t want to use the word “reactionary” because it’s considered a bad word but I think it’s reactionary in the sense that the left attacks and steals, and then all the people they’re running roughshod over have to band together defensively to oppose them.
And I don’t know our movement has any actual agreed-to philosophy behind it except that we all agree we would like to stop being attacked and robbed by the left.
It could be that a dumb bunny, unschooled in actual conservative thought, might actually be an unexpectedly strong candidate precisely because the only “conservatism” he knows is the actual glue that holds the “movement” (if it is that) together: a simple opposition to being robbed and attacked by the left.
[G]iven Palin’s Alaskan past, the endorsement makes perfect sense. Her real roots are not in Reaganism or libertarianism or the orthodoxies of the donor class. They’re in the same kind of blue-collar, Jacksonian, “who’s looking out for you?” populism that has carried Trump to the top of the Republican polls. And it’s a populism that the G.O.P. is discovering has a lot more appeal to many of its voters than the litmus tests of the official right…
[A]t a certain point disillusionment with the system becomes so strong that no wonkish policy proposal is likely to resonate anymore. So you can talk all you want (as Marco Rubio’s water-treading campaign has tried to do) about improving vocational education or increasing the child-tax credit, and people will tune you out: They want someone who will arm-wrestle the Chinese, make Mexico pay for the wall, smite our enemies and generally stand in solidarity with their resentments, regardless of the policy results.
Since this is a recipe for American-style Putinism, it’s not exactly a good sign for the republic that it seems to be resonating. But those of us who want a better, saner and more decent populism than what Donald Trump is selling need to reckon with the implications of his indubitable appeal.