It was bound to happen, but time and words cannot be recalled.
On Wednesday, Sarah Palin made the not-so-surprising move of endorsing Donald Trump for POTUS in the 2016 elections, according to Fox News. Her missive is likely meant as a rebuff to Ted Cruz, but that aside, what does the political gesture do for Trump’s likability and bona fides among Republican conservatives?
The short answer depends on whether or not cowering GOP operatives play nice, dismiss Cruz’s New York gut-punch swipe, and stop acting like the injured duckling party of surrender. The long answer is anyone’s guess.
Prognosticators stated, based on the latest poll data, that Cruz would edge Donald Trump in Iowa, but Sarah Palin’s endorsement tips the scales. Undoubtedly, establishment Republicans are moving with alacrity to make sense of the Tea Party darling’s move.
After all, Palin, who petitioned voters to send more “senators like Cruz to Washington,” lauded him at CPAC in 2013 because he “chews barbed wire and spits out rust.” Cruz returned the niceties when he introduced the former governor by humbly admitting that he “would not be in the U.S. Senate today if it were not for Governor Palin.” Suddenly, the convertible congeniality crashed and burned on their relationship, according to a Breitbart report.
— BuzzFeed News (@BuzzFeedNews) January 19, 2016
The exchanged praises bore all the markings of a Palin endorsement of Cruz again, this time as the president of the United States. Instead, Trump received the honors and has a chance to be among the “winners” Sarah Plain has picked over her career. What happened to the “I scratch your back, you scratch mine” good old boy politics?
Apparently, the scratching expired somewhere along the line. Perhaps it has something to do with Cruz’s response to rumors of Palin’s endorsement of the real estate mogul: “It would be a blow” if she gave Trump the thumb’s up.
In the current cycle of the sixth Republican debate held in North Charleston, South Carolina, and hosted by moderators Neil Cavuto and Maria Bartiromo of the Fox Business Network, Ted Cruz took a jab at Donald Trump’s conservative values when questioned about his quote on his opponent’s “New York values.”
“You know, I think most people know exactly what New York values are,” he replied.
Bartiromo pointed out that she is from the city and doesn’t understand his characterization.
Cruz quipped, “I promise you, in the state of South Carolina, they do,” to thunderous applause.
“And listen, there are many, many wonderful, wonderful working men and women in the state of New York. But everyone understands that the values in New York City are socially liberal or pro-abortion or pro- gay-marriage, focus around money and the media.
“And — and I would note indeed, the reason I said that is I was asked — my friend Donald has taken to it as (ph) advance playing Bruce Springsteen’s “Born in the USA”, and I was asked what I thought of that.
“And I said, ‘well, if he wanted to play a song, maybe he could play, “New York, New York”?’ And — and — you know, the concept of New York values is not that complicated to figure out.”
Cruz then referenced a past interview Donald Trump had with Tim Russert. In short, he suggested the Republican frontrunner has flip-flopped on several issues over time.
“And his explanation — he said, ‘look, I’m from New York, that’s what we believe in New York. Those aren’t Iowa values, but this is what we believe in New York.’ And so that was his explanation.”
In closing, Cruz said “not a lot of conservatives come out of Manhattan,” to which Trump invoked the post-911 spirit and responded by assailing the senator over his “offensive” remarks.
Similar to Obama and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle who’ve famously “evolved” on the topic of same-sex marriage, could Trump, once a Democrat with liberal views, have followed suit and evolved? Ben Carson certainly did when he fled the Democratic Party, so why not?
The larger question remains: Are voters buying into Trump’s change of heart? Moreover, given his so-called New York state of mind of days gone by, can his goods for sale resonate with conservatives across the board? Even still, can Sarah Palin’s resounding endorsement buoy his chances in Iowa and beyond?
In 1912, Theodore Roosevelt, a member of the Republican Party, made a Populist speech mere moments after getting shot by a would-be assassin. Although he bled ever so slightly from a gunshot wound to his chest, the former two-term president addressed a capacity crowd in Milwaukee.
Roosevelt, a member of the Dutch Reformed Church, spoke about the Progressive Movement and American values.
“I believe that the Progressive movement is making life a little easier for all our people; a movement to try to take the burdens off the men and especially the women and children of this country. I am absorbed in the success of that movement.
“At one time I promoted five men for gallantry on the field of battle. Afterward in making some inquiries about them I found that two of them were Protestants, two Catholic, and one a Jew. One Protestant came from Germany, and one was born in Ireland. I did not promote them because of their religion. It just happened that way. If all five of them had been Jews I would have promoted them, or if all five of them had been Protestants I would have promoted them; or if they had been Catholics.
“I make the same appeal to our citizenship. I ask in our civic life that we, in the same way, pay heed only to the man’s quality of citizenship, to repudiate as the worst enemy that we can have whoever tries to get us to discriminate for or against any man because of his creed or birthplace.”
Conservatives will likely push back on this hunch, but had Roosevelt been alive today, he wouldn’t be a fan of Donald Trump. Unlike Palin, his endorsement would have likely gone to Marco Rubio or Jeb Bush. Furthermore, an argument can be made that TR’s ideals were more in line with Hillary Clinton’s.
— Alan Rappeport (@arappeport) January 21, 2016
True conservatism depends on providing the people with financial stability, inclusion, and a mutual advantage to meet the evolution of global capitalism. The byproduct is the opportunity for everyone.
Trump — and Cruz, for that matter — aligns closer to European conservatives and authoritarianism. Walls and wholesale blockades of a religious order don’t fit the party of Lincoln.
Political epistles from popular newspapers used to have an impact on public elections in the same way nods from celebrities did. Today, an endorsement from a big name doesn’t guarantee success at the polls.
Case in point: Bill Clinton is among the best surrogates Democrats have in the chamber, but even he’s shot blanks at times. And that Clint Eastwood thing — you know, with the chair — was just was a lesson in futility for the GOP.
Methinks Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Donald Trump may do little to catapult him to the White House; he first has to prove his worthiness among red states.
[Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images]