Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Sarah Palin's 2012 Chances

There's a fair bit of speculation these days, with the launch of her book, that Sarah Palin will run for the Republican nomination for President in 2012. I agree that she probably will run. I don't think she can win. To follow-up Tom Schaller's piece at fivethirtyeight, here's a few more reasons why:
  1. New Hampshire: While two-time New Hampshire Republican Primary winner John McCain thought she was a kindred spirit, Sarah Palin doesn't seem to mesh with the Granite State. The old small-c New England conservative would seem a stark contrast to Ms. Palin's neo-Conservative new Republicanism. If that weren't enough there will probably be an immovable object in New Hampshire named Mitt Romney. Romney was beat out at the wire by McCain in New Hampshire last time out, but Palin won't be able to play the historical sentiment card. Romney's one of the few potential Republican candidates who fit New Hampshire's political profile. He also has the time and money to run away from the field there. Palin along with most of the rest of the field (Pawlenty may prove the exception) will probably therefore dedicate their attention to:
  2. Iowa: The Hawkeye State is home to evangelical caucus voters and will be target A1 for the long list of social Conservatives in the Republican race. The inside track would have to belong to Mike Huckabee who surprised just about everyone by winning the caucuses last time out. Caucuses in general may prove problematic for the divisive Palin and Iowa voters will have lots of other choices to park their votes with. Everyone from Newt Gingrich, to Haley Barbour, to Rick Santorum are possibilities. Iowa will either go to Huckabee or be a crapshoot, either way Palin has long odds.
  3. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints: Yes, the Mormon Church. The LDS Church has flexed a lot of political muscle lately (see Prop 8) and will quietly toe the church/state line in their support of Mitt Romney. There may have been a time where this was only important in Utah. Not anymore. There is a long list of Western states where the Mormon vote will provide the money and support the eventual winner will need (including early Caucus holder Nevada). Palin is going to get the cold shoulder from a category of voters that may have otherwise supported her.
  4. Timetables: We should start to see the horse trading surrounding primary and caucus dates soon. This can completely change the complexion of the race. A lot of early races mean a lot more big fields by virtue of the fact that it becomes a cheaper campaign to run and fewer candidates will drop out. Palin needs to be able to take on an opponent head-to-head, especially an opponent like Mitt Romney. If more states join Florida and Michigan and crash the early primaries, Palin could find herself to far behind in the winner-take-all Republican system to have a chance after Super Tuesday. Both parties have incentives to get the primaries out of the way early and may not be as hostile to states jumping the queue as they were in 2008.
  5. Campaign Management: Someone has to run her campaign. Someone who isn't named in her book as getting in her way in 2008. While a Karl Rove or someone of his ilk would probably accept the challenge, getting Palin to conform to the on-message requirements of a long campaign may prove a) impossible and b) detrimental. Palin is famous for being able to say anything at any time something that makes her great media fodder, a head ache for campaign managers and very popular among a sector of voters who are desperate for sincerity. Palin may say some strange things but one gets the sense that she believes what she is saying (at least at the moment she says it). The Republican Party has become a talking point driven party and Palin will make that strategy difficult. Finding the balance between Donna Brazille (the micro-manager of Al Gore's 2000 run) and Aaron Sorkin (the West Wing producer who's strategy was "Let Bartlett, Be Bartlett") will be difficult if not impossible.
  6. Money: People power is wonderful, but big money fundraisers are still key to maintaining a long Presidential campaign. Obama could do both. No one on the Republican side last time except Ron Paul could do either. While the Ron Paul crowd may back Palin (if Paul decides not to run), Palin lacks the big money network common to most successful Republican nominees. People power only got Mike Huckabee a bridesmaid spot last time out. Romney can just lend himself the money, Palin doesn't have that luxury.


Anonymous said...
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CanadianSense said...

Anything is possible. Many experts predicted Hillary was going to win the Democratic nomination and her advantages were given reasons why no one would be able to beat her.

We know how that turned out.

Can SP or a candidate run a successful campaign on little substance but on popular themes?

Will big money follow and try to cover their bets?

OBAMA executed an impressive campaign and did not limit his campaign contributions by seeking matching federal funds.

Can a Republican follow and learn the lessons from the OBAMA team in the next campaign?

OBAMA ran against GW record, McCain could not distance himself from GW and retain that base.

OBAMA will have a record to boast or defend against the next opponent.

Too many variables to predict about the voters coming out to punish or support OBAMA.

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