As the Republican presidential candidates flock to Iowa to secure those last minute caucus votes, endorsements are being made left and right. Glenn Beck officially endorsed Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), and it looks like Senator Joni Ernst (R-IA) will all but officially endorse Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL)- just to name a few of the last week. However, the most confusing of endorsement was former Alaska governor Sarah Palin’s support for Donald Trump. It just couldn’t be that one of the top leaders of the Tea Party was going to support someone who was still donating to the Democratic party until 2008.
And yet, she did. She’s ready to “make America great again” (which is lazy sloganeering) with the Donald, and told us so in a meandering speech that included such lines as:
“They stomp on our neck, and then they tell us, ‘Just chill, O.K., just relax.’ Well, look, we are mad, and we’ve been had. They need to get used to it.”
“We’re talking about no more Reaganesque power that comes from strength. Power through strength.”
I think she meant “peace through strength” in that last quote, but by that point everyone was so lost that the gaffe hardly mattered.
That same week, the editors of the conservative magazine National Review began running a number of essays “Against Trump” that examine his positions on each issue, and conclude–correctly, I might add–that he is not a conservative. Yet, Palin supports him, and right-leaning media outlets like Fox News and Breitbart seem to give Trump all the coverage he could ask for.
The primary source of this Trump frenzy is his success in the polls that paints him as the front-runner who can get elected, but he’s weak on substance. Yes, Mitt Romney was also “electable,” but he lost his spine before November and he lost in a landslide. Say what you will about President Obama, but his campaign message had values that appealed to his respective base, and Republicans haven’t put up a candidate in the last two elections who has been able to do that- and look what that’s gotten us.
I’m no fortune teller, but it seems that this split between establishment Republicans and the conservative base is only going to grow, forcing to decide between their party loyalty and their values on primary day.