One time many years ago when I was a director for a small theater outside of Chicago, one of the young men who had been involved with the company for a number of years sat me down because he wanted to tell me something really important. He was nervous and uncomfortable. Finally, after much hemming and hawing he came out and told me he was gay. To him I said, “Well, it means a lot to me that you would trust me enough to tell me that.” But on the inside I was thinking, “Didn’t everybody already know he was gay?!” I mean, it was so damn obvious.
Trump’s “big announcement and endorsement” in Ames, Iowa today left me thinking the same thing. Such a huge build-up and creation of suspense for an endorsement from Sarah Palin whom I thought already endorsed Trump months ago.
Who was surprised? I mean, it was so damn obvious.
But here’s the question.
Will Palin help?
There is no doubt that among Tea Party conservatives within the Republican Party, Sarah Palin is Kim Kardashian. Okay, that’s not fair. Let me think of another comparison.
Sarah Palin is like the celebrity standard-bearer of the Tea Party. She’s the Tea Party rock star. Or at least she used to be. Her star has faded over the last couple of years. In 2009 and 2010, she was a superstar. Now she’s just a star. But nonetheless, she is a big name. It’s a big get.
It is possible that Sarah’s endorsement will be a boost for Trump in Iowa, but I doubt it will move the needle too much. Endorsements aren’t exactly game-changers. Trump may pick up a few undecideds who have been feeling a bit like Hamlet. “To Cruz or to Trump. That is the question. Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of conservative fortune. Or to take up arms against a sea of conservatism and oppose the ending of ethanol subsidies.”
[Okay, that was a stretch. I blame it on Lupus and having to shovel snow all flippin’ day. My writing skills are suffering.]
But again I ask, will Palin help?
Well, on the plus side, Trump will have someone on his campaign who could help teach him the correct names of the books in the Bible. But other than that?
I would venture to guess that for every Iowa voter who hears of this endorsement and decides to support Trump, there will be a New Hampshire voter who thinks, “Good God, not her!!!”
Since I thought Palin endorsed Trump months ago, I don’t see it mattering one way or the other. I mean, didn’t we all know she favored Trump?
I’m sure it will confuse the voters who are loving Trump attacking Cruz for being hated in Washington. Because last time I checked, Sarah Palin was hated in Washington too. But right now, Trump’s entire focus is on Iowa. And he must believe that Palin will help him best Cruz and win that state.
It might. But then again, it might have zero impact. Right now both Cruz and Trump are trying to sway additional voters to their side — either by drawing them away from one of the other candidates or by going after the large chunk of Iowa caucus-goers who are still on the fence. And in this heated and somewhat divisive early primary season, I’d venture to guess that for each Iowa voter swayed to Trump because of Palin, there will be another Iowa voter horrified by Palin endorsing Trump (or by Trump letting Palin endorse him — take your pick). So it’s possible this endorsement will be an equal part good and an equal part bad.
Get my meaning?
Personally, I don’t give a rip. Endorsements rarely mean much to me in terms of swaying me to vote one way or the other. Clearly endorsements mean enough to me to write about it, but having or not having the coveted Palin endorsement, when it comes to my choosing a candidate to support, means about as much to me as a June bug in July.
Don’t get me wrong. I’ve always liked Sarah Palin. Sometimes I felt like she was a little abrasive and obnoxious, but mostly I’ve been grateful for her contribution to the rise of the Conservative Counterculture back in 2009 and 2010. No matter what you might think of her today, there is no denying that she was very influential. But it isn’t 2009 anymore. And Sarah has become less of a Conservative firebrand and more of a reality TV celebrity over the last few years. So I’m just not certain her endorsement will have the same punch it could have even four years ago.
The one way this endorsement will help Trump significantly is once again the 24/7 news cycle will be all about him. The Enslaved Press will cover this Palin endorsement like flies on shit. No offense. But you know I’m right. Not that they’re going to be covering it favorably. Remember, they don’t particularly like Sarah Palin. Actually, they despise her. They will use the Palin endorsement as one more way to make Trump look like a kook and outside of the mainstream — the way they do every time Sarah Palin gets involved. I would expect some snide and snarky comments from CNN, MSNBC and even Fox News people over Trump aligning himself with Palin.
Here’s what I can tell you. The Trump supporters will eat it up with a spoon. Of course, Trump could come to their house, burn it to the ground, then get a judge to turn over the property to his company so he could make a parking lot, and they would probably still love him. The Cruz supporters will be disappointed and maybe a little angry — accusing her of being a sell-out and a fraud.
And then everything will go on the way it has. And nothing will have changed.
Will it help?
No. Not really.
Will it hurt?
Only if listening to Sarah Palin speak gives you an earache.
I think for the most part, despite all the fanfare, it will pretty much be a wash.
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