2016 Elections: Is Palin the GOP’s Answer to Hillary Clinton?
Will Sarah Palin run against Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election? No, it’s safe to say that she likely won’t. Though, as she said herself when asked, “never say never.” She followed the statement up by adding, “I don’t have a team of people, you know, getting out there doing these poll-tested whatever they do to let you know if you should run or not. I don’t have any of that kind of organization going,” according to The Examiner. While her candidacy would certainly be welcomed by some within the GOP, especially further to the right – including the Tea Party — that doesn’t supersede the odds.
That hasn’t stopped back and forth discussion on whether or not she should run, on whether or not the idea has merit. When it comes down to it, Palin’s resurgence has to do with a number of things. She’s being suggested as a solution to the GOP’s failure to compete with Democratic candidates, and failure to reach potential voters by alienating possible swing votes with overemphasis on certain issues, and underemphasis on others. She’s female and has played a prominent role in past presidential elections, running as Vice President to John McCain, so when Republicans scramble for a woman’s voice in their party that could compete with former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, her name is near the surface.
Of course, that doesn’t make her the only woman in the Republican party being considered for a roll in 2016. Kelly Ayotte’s name has been batted around quite a bit for the Vice Presidency, though on who’s ticket is still uncertain. “Ayotte could turn the ‘war on women’ narrative into a punch line,” said Steve Schmidt, manager of John McCain’s 2008 bid, to The Daily Beast. “In the category of those really talented women who can really break into the next level, I think Kelly Ayotte stands out. She has a lot of skills. There’s no on-the-job training and she clears that hurdle.”
Still, Ayotte has faced a fair amount of criticism from her own party, and hasn’t always fallen on the popular side of political opinions — despite support from a wide body of conservative donors in her last run for Congress, including Karl Rove’s American Crossroads, the Koch Brothers, and Paul Singer — according to The Daily Beast.
Sarah Palin, who once supported Ayotte in 2010, changed her sentiments in 2013 after Ayotte accepted the Gang of Eight immigration bill in Congress. Palin targeted her as having “flip-flopped” on her promises in regards to immigration — a reform topic that has seen heavy hitting in Congress, and specifically within the Republican party’s constituents of late. In this way, even in regards to Ayotte, Palin has been in the public eye. Palin is looking at more publicity in the future; fans of Sportsman Channel will be seeing much more of her, with her new show entitled Amazing America with Sarah Palin.
Charlotte Allen, a conservative writer with The Los Angeles Times, recently wrote a piece to the affect that Palin would be the ultimate cure-all for the GOP’s candidate search in the face of Hillary Clinton. “Furthermore, looks count in politics,” wrote Allen, “and Palin at age 48, has it all over her possible competition, including Hillary Rodham Clinton, who will be 69 by election day 2016 and who let someone talk her into adopting the flowing blond locks of a college student, making her look like Brunnhilde in a small-town Wagner production. Men love Sarah Palin, and she loves men.” Aside from the obvious problem with comparing two theoretical female presidential candidates to see ‘who’s prettier’ and which would make for a better political porn parody her argument is largely image based in other ways. She discusses voters’ view of her, which constituents she could reach for the Republican party, and her image — more-so than her qualifications.
In terms of public opinion, Gallup took a poll of the most admired women in 2013 and she was competitively high on the list, with 5 percent mentioning her, placing her tied at third with Michelle Obama, under Oprah Winfrey at 6 percent — but notably still unable to compete with Hillary Clinton’s sixth consecutive year as most admired woman, mentioned by 15 percent in 2013. Should Palin actually find herself running for the GOP, it seems highly unlikely that she would be able to compete with Clinton.
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