Daniel Strauss at Politico says that Donald Trump’s embrace of Sarah Palin and her passionate fan base, including readers of Breitbart News, is smart politics.
The odd alliance between the New York mogul and Alaska hockey mom, many years in the making, has burst into prominence on the campaign trail over the past week, in a flurry of adoring compliments and vows of friendship. But it’s also smart politics. Trump carries many positions, from admiring comments about Bill Clinton to support for Obamacare-like health policies, that jeopardize his standing with grass-roots conservatives. Palin, with her unimpeachable conservative cred, stands ready to vouch for him.
Indeed, while Palin has high negative ratings among the general public, she also has a large, devoted following among voters that many GOP strategists say have been neglected by the mainstream candidates.
Palin still has a whopping 1.16 million followers on Twitter and 4.4 million Facebook likes — only two indicators of her clout in the party’s volatile grass roots.
On Friday, Palin called those loyalists to action with a piece in Breitbart.com, casting Trump as the candidate of “Joe Six-Pack” Americans.
The common thread with Palin and Trump, beyond a track record for statements that win headlines but rankle wide swaths of Americans, is that they have both tried to draw on populist conservative enthusiasm while in the national spotlight.
A former aide to Palin said the former governor has long liked Trump’s habit of “telling it like it is.”
“Palin and Trump seem like an odd couple, but their charisma taps into a following few are able to inspire to the same degree. And perhaps it is simply because they know who they are and don’t care if others don’t like them,” the aide said. “No doubt, Palin is pleased to hear Trump acknowledge her strengths, and her fan base, because she remains relevant for another cycle.”
Read the rest of the story here.