This weekend, former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin, who is considered the conservative movement’s North Star, said Americans are counting on South Carolina voters to find and help Republicans nominate a bold conservative candidate who can win the White House in 2016.
In a video message to the South Carolina Tea Party Convention, Palin said in addition to monitoring lawmakers in Congress, conservatives must have a “discussion about the future of our party” and how it can appeal more to independent-minded Republicans and blue-dog Reagan Democrats “so that we can elect a Republican president in 2016.”
She said the country would be counting on South Carolina to “to help elect that president and figure out who that candidate will be.” Conservatives like Mark Levin have stressed that Republicans must nominate a Reagan conservative to ensure that conservative voters do not stay at home as they have done in years past when Republicans nominated candidates, in Sen. Ted Cruz’s (R-TX) words, from the “mushy muddle.” Cruz, himself a potential ’16 candidate, addressed the convention and said that if Republicans nominate someone like Mitt Romney, who is considering a third White House run, a Democrat will again occupy the White House in 2016 because the base will not turn out.
Palin praised conservative primary voters in the Palmetto State for finding good “underdog” candidates in the past and giving their stamp of approval to great presidential candidates.
She also thanked South Carolinians for sending ‘bold leaders” to Washington to “do justice.” She named former Senator and current Heritage Foundation President Jim DeMint, Sen. Tim Scott (R-SC), whom Palin endorsed when he was first running for Congress and who she said was “wonderful for the country,” and Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-SC). Palin said that she tells everyone around her to “shush” when Gowdy is on television giving soundbites.
Palin also said that while the GOP establishment is taking credit for the GOP majority in Congress, “they didn’t build the majority–you did!”
She said conservatives must hold newly-elected leaders, even those who ran as constitutional conservatives, accountable because, “if we’re not there to collect… then who will collect on the promises made?”
Palin–and her brand of conservatism–has always had very strong appeal in South Carolina. Without Palin’s endorsement, Nikki Haley would never have been elected governor. And her praise of Newt Gingrich in the weeks before South Carolina’s 2012 GOP presidential primary gave him the momentum to win the first-in-the-South primary over Mitt Romney.