Yesterday Sarah Palin made the announcement that she is endorsing Donald Trump for President. Does this endorsement matter? Yes, it does matter in Iowa but probably not in New Hampshire.
How do I know? Two reasons. I have some quantitative data from voter research and second...I grew up on the border of Illinois and Iowa.
First, the data. Twelve percent of Republican and Independent voters indicate that they care about Sarah Palin's opinions. This is from research conducted with more than 500 voters at the end of last year. Compared to other commentators, such as Bill O'Reilly and Charles Krauthammer, both of whom are over 20 percent, Sarah Palin is much lower. But in a tight race, 12 percent can make a difference.
And the Iowa qualification?.....When Sarah Palin ran as Vice President with John McCain, I was a big fan. She represented the ideal working woman. A busy mother who had educated herself about the issues. She was a multi-tasker and a great speaker. She made me feel as if it was ok to be a working mom as long as I was well-prepared for whatever was going to be thrown at me. And she also made it OK to be a conservative. At a time when most "soccer moms" were identified with stay-at-home moms....Sarah Palin, the "hockey mom", was more like me.
And she wasn't rich. I understood the resignation from being Governor of Alaska. Why pay outrageous legal fees? I didn't see it as giving up. Rather I saw it as outsmarting the media. And although in the past few years I anticipate her net worth has increased, she still doesn't seem to exemplify the stereotypical wealthy person. She's out fishing for salmon and maybe even hanging out at hog roasts.
But in the years since running for Vice-President, Sarah Palin has had some mis-steps. She seems to teeter between being a media personality and a serious political commentator. Additionally, she is a little too far to the right for my personal beliefs. (And that far right approach seems counter to the actions of her daughter...but kids will be kids.) But I still admire her....I just don't know if she could ever be a serious candidate again. At the same time...I do think she could be a great appointee to some role, especially in the Department of Energy. She built her resume by understanding these issues in Alaska...maybe that would be helpful in a national role.
Growing up in the heart of the Midwest, Sarah Palin is the type of person we admired. She worked hard, made her own way to the top, and has to deal with real-life issues. Some of the things she says are a little "out there", and she does seem to have an ego. Her endorsement of Trump last night lasted almost 20 minutes and it was full of some of the cliche lines she has used in the past. But Trump and Palin need each other. Trump needs to appeal to the "Tea Party" and, if he should win, perhaps he could once again make Sarah Palin a serious contributor to the political environment by giving her a Cabinet position.
Yes, Sarah Palin will help Trump in Iowa....but who is he going to turn to for New York?
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