Depending on the particular point of view, Sarah Palin’s previously hinted, but still oddly unexpected, public endorsement of The Donald is being termed the “ultimate reality show,” a new segment of SNL, a smart move or the “deciding factor” in Iowa. Was it orchestrated to knock the energy out of Ted Cruz’s campaign and play to Tea Party and evangelical factions within Republican Party? Or was the intent to stun the rest of the pack or simply to grab headlines?
Or, as hard as it might be to believe, did Sarah herself simply ask Donald how she could help out?
We may never know exactly how it came about. The question is, “Where does it lead?”
The Road Ahead
There is little doubt that the uninhibited styles of both Palin and Trump can stir up crowds. The old political question, however, about the combination “playing well” in Peoria and elsewhere, is open to debate. Have you made up your mind? Initial reaction was one of surprise. Not shock and awe, by any means, but not wholeheartedly favorable either.
Palin’s style is, perhaps, a bit more strident than it was eight years ago when she was a newbie on the national political scene. She is seasoned now and seems bolder. On Wednesday, her missed joint appearance with Trump in Iowa left some loyal fans confused and disappointed. Later, when she met up with the candidate in Oklahoma, their “togetherness” seemed somewhat awkward.
To be sure, there was flag waving and glad-handing all around, and Sarah faced down the questions once again, in her distinctive style, about her family and their personal problems. But where is it all leading?
The Questions Continue
Donald Trump’s appeal to voters has been the fact that he is willing to say what no one else on the national stage would give voice to. He has, by choice it seems, disallowed appearances by family, friends and supporters, except on rare occasions. Seemingly willing to go it alone, the strategy has worked exceedingly well so far.
“Telling it like it is,” being the “bad boy” of the party and reveling in the controversy he creates has, by all indications, been his game plan. But now? Will Sarah Palin be simply an echo? Will they be singing a duet? Will Trump “approve the Palin message?”
We have rarely seen Donald Trump at a loss for words. Appearances over the past couple of days, however, and questions about the possibility of a Sarah Palin vice presidential candidacy again, have led to non-answers and some clumsy responses. That’s not like The Donald.
With no shortage of commentary about what it means from Republicans and Democrats alike, it is interesting to play out the possibilities.
Brilliant Strategy, or Media Grab?
If, as is claimed, the Trump campaign called in reinforcements to batter Ted Cruz, is it a brilliant political strategy? Some seem to think so. Even Ted Cruz seems a little flustered by the move, but that started with Trump’s hammering about his Canadian birth and his “nastiness.” To date, poll numbers point to no real conclusions.
Is the endorsement polarizing and energizing other candidates? Seems so! Mainstream candidates Bush and Rubio, oddly, have seen their percentages rise, while Ben Carson has all but disappeared, at least if you follow major news networks.
Is it affecting polls and percentages? Not for Trump. He still leads. Is there anything else to say? Does Sarah have everyone talking? You bet, but are they talking about Sarah Palin or about Donald Trump? That remains to be seen — and analyzed ad nauseam, at this point.
Media Grab? Okay then.
We’re getting down to the wire for the bloated Republican pack of candidates. Whether the lower tier will get the message after Iowa, New Hampshire and South Carolina is a question for another time. But, a recent story from The Hill states that big corporate donors may be getting the message that Donald Trump can become the Republican candidate for president and are open to coalescing around him, for both endorsements and big-money financial support. Even though Trump has stated repeatedly that he doesn’t want their money, he may change his tune if he becomes the party standard bearer.
So, on the question of Sarah Palin and “standing by her man,” it may be best that we all just wait and see.
As we all know, we are living in interesting times.