Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Sarah Palin, Rage Whisperer


DONALD J. TRUMP has made a shrewd bet. For the first time since he descended an escalator in Trump Tower last June to announce that this time, he really was running for president, he ceded control of his campaign message. He handed the Trump-bedecked podium over to Sarah Palin.

Mr. Trump’s bet: When the politician most fluent in American rage roars, the movement she gave voice to in the fall of 2008 will roar back today.

With his call to deport illegal immigrants, especially because Mexico sends us its “bad ones,” his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country, his emphasis on the threats to lawful gun ownership and his promise to protect American goods and workers from China, Mr. Trump is riding the wave of anxiety that Ms. Palin first gave voice to as Senator John McCain’s running mate. Mr. Trump has now usurped and vastly expanded upon Ms. Palin’s constituency, but the connection between the two movements is undeniable.

As a senior adviser to the McCain-Palin campaign in 2008, I understand why, to this day, Senator McCain remains gracious toward Ms. Palin. Despite her shortcomings, she brought out the largest crowds that we’d seen since the campaign started. Voters stood for hours on the rope line to meet her. Her legacy lies in her innate ability to wrap herself in the anger that those voters felt. While Senator McCain seemed slightly unnerved by the intensity of their discontent, Ms. Palin basked in it.

(More here.)


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