Dumb and Dumber: Palin picks Trump

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Dumb and Dumber: Palin picks Trump

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Sarah Palin is once again in the headlines after endorsing a candidate for president. Who else could it be, but Donald Trump?

The former Alaska governor made her announcement in typical Palin fashion with a rambling, incoherent speech that lambasted Obama, compared political correctness to a suicide vest, and coined a new word to describe the Middle East: “Squirmish,” presumably from “squirm” and “skirmish.” She even dusted off her old favorite slogan, “Drill, baby, drill,” for the occasion.

Considering what a caricature she’s become, it’s easy to forget that Sarah Palin was once a serious contender, to be a heartbeat away from the presidency. Selected as Sen. John McCain’s VP candidate in 2008, the relatively unknown governor from Alaska burst onto the national scene, sparking media frenzy. Her inexperience and penchant for nonsensical remarks, made Palin a questionable choice to many and inspired a particularly memorable impersonation by Tina Fey (No, Palin never said she could see Russia from her house—but she did cite Alaska’s proximity to Russia as evidence of her knowledge of foreign policy).

Nevertheless, as Palin become a media icon, her popularity among conservatives surged and even surpassed that of her running mate’s. After losing the election, Palin resigned her governorship in order to capitalize on her newfound fame. She penned a popular memoir, became a political commentator for Fox News, and even briefly starred in a reality TV show about her life. But politics was never far from her mind. Beginning in 2010, she became heavily involved in the Tea Party movement and campaigned for many right-wing politicians across the country—including current presidential candidates Ted Cruz and Rand Paul.

And yet, Palin has just snubbed her two former allies in favor of the newest media sensation, Donald Trump. This is Trump’s biggest endorsement yet—and indeed, the highest-profile backing for any Republican in the race so far. Could it be enough to finally tip the scales in Trump’s favor, once and for all?

Though predictions are never certain with Trump, it is safe to say that she can’t hurt his chances. Palin is hugely popular in Iowa, particularly among evangelicals. In addition, her fundraising abilities have proven to be highly effective in the past. Her most important asset, however, will likely be as a buffer against Cruz—another Tea Party star—who has been steadily gaining on Trump in the Iowa polls; her presence could potentially split evangelical voters, who form a large portion of Cruz’s base.

In the long run, however, it’s unclear whether or not Palin’s endorsement will have any major impact on the trajectory of Trump’s campaign. Palin and Trump appeal to largely the same demographics; it is difficult to imagine there are many voters who, unconvinced by Trump’s antics, will place much value on Palin’s input.

The most pertinent consequence of Palin will likely be (much to the exasperation of rational-minded voters everywhere) her return to the national spotlight and the amplification of Donald Trump’s baffling, media-driven, self-indulgent campaign.

Trump’s newest supporter is already making headlines after blaming Obama for her eldest son’s recent arrest on domestic assault charges. Track Palin, a 22-year-old Iraq war veteran, allegedly punched his girlfriend in the eye and held an assault rifle to his head, threatening to shoot himself. Sarah Palin claimed Obama has not done enough to treat returning soldiers with PTSD.

The truth is they’re not so different, Palin and Trump. Though they come from very different backgrounds, Palin and Trump represent a particular strain of politician that is becoming all too prevalent. Bombastic, arrogant and highly unpredictable, they replace substance with showmanship and rationality with rhetoric. Believing there is no such thing as bad publicity, they are unopposed to using shocking statements, blatant exaggeration and outright fabrication to spread their message—or, more accurately, their name—far and wide. The media, of course, is only too happy to oblige.

Think we’ll be hearing more of Sarah Palin?

You betcha!