“It’s hard to imagine a Republican nominee [in 2012] not being someone who does really well with, let’s say, Christine O’Donnell voters,” he said, “and I think that’s going to be problematic for them. I think that those voters in a presidential year don’t represent the mainstream. Clearly, there’s a lot of power in that wing of the party right now. So it’s fascinating. Palin is the pied piper to that wing in the party. Without her endorsement, O’Donnell wouldn’t have a prayer.”
In other words, whoever emerges as the Republican standard-bearer, be it frontrunner Mitt Romney or someone else, will have to please the party’s ideological right.
“That would be my sense, with the caveat that a lot can change,” Plouffe said. “If they don’t have as good an election as they think they’re going to have, that could impact it—you could have a candidate who runs more right-center and tries to put it together that way. In the past, the Republicans tended to be the Establishment Party. There’s a laying on of hands from the establishment, and those people tend to win it. But right now, it’s hard to believe that the people coming out in the Iowa caucuses, in the South Carolina primary, in Michigan and elsewhere won’t be a lot more Sarah Palin-Glenn Beck voters than not.”