By Kit O’Connell
Special to the Las Vegas Tribune
Depending on one’s political perspective, Sarah Palin and Donald Trump are either two of the Republican Party’s most outspoken mavericks or outrageous political jokes. Now the divisive pair are teaming up to revive Palin’s career while boosting Trump’s campaign for president.
Until recently, many considered Palin’s political career to be waning in popularity, especially after Fox News ended her contract earlier this year. Jack Mirkinson, writing for Salon, argued that her popularity dropped dramatically after she canceled a proposed 2012 presidential bid. Although she attempted to launch her own Internet TV channel, the website receives “barely measureable” levels of web traffic.
While some may be confused by this pairing, Husna Haq, a correspondent for Christian Science Monitor, explained on Tuesday why a Palin-Trump alliance makes political sense: “For Trump, criticized for his past liberal leanings, the support of Palin, with her unimpeachable conservative credentials, is political gold.
For Palin, who has been out of the spotlight recently — her Fox News contract is over, her recent speech at Iowa’s Freedom Summit was widely panned, and polls indicate most Republicans do not want her to run for president — Trump is a way to regain attention and relevance.”
Palin supported Trump in the aftermath of the first Republican presidential debate. Trump claims he was treated “unfairly” during the debate, and Palin’s daughter, Bristol, agreed, criticizing the tone and political content of the questions he was asked. Bristol Palin wrote in a blog entry:
“We only have so many opportunities to hear from the fifty million candidates who are apparently running for President. And we get the Fox moderators asking questions that the New York Times applauds?”
In a July appearance on “Mama Grizz Radio,” a podcast backed by Sarah Palin, Trump even offered to put the former Alaska governor in a Cabinet role if he is elected, according to Politico: “Trump said, ‘I’d love that.’
‘She’s really somebody who knows what’s happening. She’s a special person. She’s really a special person. And I think people know that and she’s got a following that’s unbelievable,’ he continued.”
In another sign of their mutual support, Trump recently hired Michael Glassner, former chief of staff for Palin’s political action committee, as the national director for Trump’s campaign. According to Alan Rappeport, writing last month in The New York Times, both figures draw political support from some of the same demographics: “Mr. Trump’s anti-establishment persona and sometimes angry rhetoric has tapped into the frustration that many Republicans feel toward centrists in the party. A comparison of Quinnipiac polls from this summer and 2011, when Ms. Palin was considering her own presidential bid before deciding against it, shows that she and Mr. Trump both have strong appeal among Catholics, evangelical Christians, lower income voters and those without a college education.”
This campaign season isn’t the first time they’ve allied with each other — in 2011, Sarah Palin supported Trump’s advocacy of the “birther” conspiracy theory, which claims Barack Obama is unfit for the presidency because he was born in a foreign country. Obama was actually born in Hawaii, which became a U.S. state in August 1959.