The Palin Party

Over at Daily Kos, BrooklynBadBoy has a piece arguing that Sarah Palin’s influence on the Republican party is what’s keeping Mitt Romney from locking down the nomination. It’s a good read.

From the post:

The Palin Party does not want Mitt Romney. For while Palin and Romney are both ambitious to a fault, Romney’s ambition is of a different variety. Romney couldn’t care less about minorities, gays, women, city and suburb dwellers, immigrants, or any of the other “others” that the Palin Party despises. Mitt Romney couldn’t care less about religion, including his own. That’s why he doesn’t like talking about it honestly in public. Mitt Romney cares about one thing and one thing only: that the top one percent stay on top and become even more top. That’s a problem for the Palin Party because they believe they should be on top by virtue of being better than everyone else … by being “real Americans” rather than rich Americans.

Generally I think Romney’s problems come down to a shitty economy. He’s the worst candidate for this cycle because he so obviously represents the people responsible for our current economic situation. Both Democrats and Republicans are suffering equally in this recession, and though we disagree on the solution it’s obvious to everyone that the lying, stealing, and greed of the 1% got us to this point.

But BrooklynBadBoy is right about Sarah Palin electrifying the base and giving new energy to that segment of the GOP. The moralists, the racists, and the populists finally had a voice – a voice they recognized as being one of their own.

Watching Game Change last week, I was reminded of how much my aunt adored Palin, referring to her as “my kind of girl.” I was also reminded of what I initially liked about Palin’s arc (I know, I know!). Sarah Palin was clearly not a republican in the old white man mold, but she had no sense whatsoever that she shouldn’t be there. She was clueless of how the system worked and not at all compelled to follow the rules.

BrooklynBadBoy’s post concludes:

In the end, Palin’s legacy will fade away as quickly as it came about. Her party is an aging, shrinking, dying demographic of rural White men. Many of the Republican party’s luminaries understand this. Likely sooner than later, the GOP establishment will come to grips with the idea that if they are to survive as a political institution they will have to jettison the nutcase fringe. The reckoning will come, as the American political system tends to correct anomalies over time. But first, they’ll have to blow an election that should have been easy as apple pie. For that, Mitt Romney can thank Sarah Palin.

The economy is going to help here as well. In better economic times Americans don’t have as much need for moralism or scapegoats. Only the social die hards will remain and their numbers are shrinking rapidly. Just not fast enough to save Mitt Romney.

Melissa Ryan is a political consultant. She’s spent a decade leading digital campaigns for nonprofits and political races, including EMILY’s List, Barack Obama’s 2012 reelection campaign, the New Organizing Institute, and Senator Russ Feingold’s campaign. Visit her website at or follow her on Twitter @MelissaRyan.

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