Rob Knowles has written a very calm and rational post about what it means that Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump. Go read it; it is very good.
But I simply can’t remain calm about this.
If Sarah Palin is (or rather, ever was) a convinced conservative, then she has obviously lost her mind.
It’s not that I think it is impossible for a conservative or Christian to vote for Trump. On the contrary, I won’t rule it out for myself. Voting is a guessing game about who has a chance of winning (unless you are making a protest vote, which is fine by me) and will make the least bad president. To calculate what is most likely to happen you have to look at a candidate’s rhetoric and who sponsors him—keeping in mind that a candidate has zero obligation to fulfill any promise he makes.
You can vote for anyone as a Christian and a conservative as long as the alternative is worse.
But an endorsement is a different thing altogether—especially an endorsement during a primary. When you endorse someone in a primary you have to sing the candidate’s praises not as the least evil, incompetent, and/or corrupt of all the other options, but as a super hero who is better than all the other candidates.
Trump has a record as a crony capitalist and a Liberal partisan. How do we know we can trust him? He still defends eminent domain, which is a a primary instrument in the crony capitalist’s toolbox.
Yes, Trump has many possible assets that lead me to admit I might vote for him at some point. But calling him “pro-Constitution” is delusional or fraudulent. Take your pick with Palin.
I admit there are statements that resonated with me in the transcript of her endorsement speech. Who can resist giving a cheer when they hear her line about the establishment Republican candidates wearing “political correctness kind of like a suicide vest”?
Except Palin makes it sound as if she is talking about all the other candidates. Ted Cruz does not deserve to be consigned to that group. Nor does Ben Carson or Rand Paul. A conservative may calculate that Trump is the best option, but it simply untrue that every other Republican candidate is bound by political correctness.
As Rob Knowles pointed out, Palin once endorsed Cruz as a Constitutional champion. What happened? Did he tell her he wasn’t interested in making her his running-mate?
But perhaps I’m overreacting. Perhaps Palin hasn’t lost her mind. After all, she did the same PR job for John McCain. It was more forgivable at that time because our choice was McCain or Obama. But she made her living for a while portraying him as a conservative.
So maybe the real outlier for Palin was the endorsement of Ted Cruz. Now she is doing what she does best, providing conservative cheerleading services for a decidedly non-conservative candidate. That’s a con job that she has experience doing.
I have written before about how much I hate Establishment Republican attacks on Trump. But portraying Trump as a conservative, and elevating him over real conservatives, is just as offensive.