But given 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.
Which means that in a certain way, Trump and Palin together on a stage is the closest American politics has come to offering the populist grand new party that Salam and I called for two presidential campaigns ago.
Except that it isn’t what we called for, because we wanted a populism with substance — one that actually offered policy solutions to stagnant wages and rising health care costs, one that could help Republicans reach out to upwardly mobile blacks and Hispanics as well as whites, and so on down an optimistic wish list.
Whereas Trump-era populism, while it plays very effectively on economic anxiety, mostly offers braggadocio rather than solutions, and white identity politics rather than any kind of one-nation conservatism.