The family-values firebrand, who divorced her husband in 2020, appeared on Fox News and told Sean Hannity, “I’m going to throw my hat in the ring because we need people that have cajones. We need people like Donald Trump who has nothing to lose like me. We got nothing to lose and no more of this vanilla milquetoast namby-pamby wussy pussy stuff that’s been going on.”
Palin: … I’m going to throw my hat in the ring because we need people that have cajones. We need people like Donald Trump who has nothing to lose like me. We got nothing to lose and no more of this vanilla milquetoast namby-pamby wussy pussy stuff… pic.twitter.com/49vCbLgkkJ— Acyn (@Acyn) March 25, 2022
Palin flirted with a run for Congress once before when she considered challenging Sen. Lisa Murkowski in 2021. In a speech before a Christian conservative conference, Palin said, “If God wants me to do it, I will.”
She didn’t do it, of course, after correctly concluding that a run against Murkowski, a living legend, would have been a heavy lift. But Palin running to fill the vacant seat of a legend who’s passed on is in the realm of possibility.
As infamous as she is famous, Palin has name recognition that money can’t buy. That’ll save her the effort of traveling from one end of the largest state in the country to the other to introduce herself to voters. And let’s not forget that she was twice-elected mayor of Wasilla, and became the state’s youngest-ever governor after winning the 2006 gubernatorial race.
We shouldn’t dismiss a “Palin for Congress” run outright. She’s got demonstrable political skills, and the opportunity laid out before her is doable.
The last we saw of Palin was just last month, when she was suing The New York Times for defamation—a losing proposition legally but advantageous politically in Alaska, where you win points just for taking on the daily manifesto of east coast elites.
That said, since the last time she was a candidate—when she couldn’t name a single newspaper as John McCain’s running mate in 2008—she hasn’t exactly portrayed herself as ready for prime time.
She quit the state house to be a commentator on Fox and to star in a reality show on the Discovery Channel produced by Mark Burnett (who gave us The Apprentice, and by extension, President Trump). She rock-climbed, dog-sledded, and salmon-fished in expensive outerwear with the kids, the better to criticize Democrats for failing to appreciate the great outdoors and family life. She became an avatar of the know-nothing populism of the Tea Party—in a sense, a proto-Trump action figure.
And then, of course, she became one of Trump’s early prominent boosters. In her January 2016 endorsement speech Palin claimed to speak for the “Right-winging, bitter-clinging, proud clingers of our guns, our God, and our religion, and our Constitution.”
A few years later, on March 11, 2020—the night when the U.S. came to the belated realization that COVID was coming for us all—the episode of The Masked Singer featuring Palin singing the classic 90s rap anthem “Baby Got Back” aired.
And, naturally, Palin’s become a loud and proud voice in the anti-COVID vaccine movement, even making a point of dining at NYC restaurants after testing positive for COVID while in town for her defamation trial.
Since she made history as the first woman on a Republican presidential ticket, she hasn’t put herself up for scrutiny among the electorate. But Alaska’s special election will be held within the next 60-90 days. The state uses ranked choice voting, so the top four vote-getters will advance to the general election.
From an electoral perspective, Palin has two significant problems. If God wants her to run in Alaska, He may have to teleport her there in the winters, since she’s been spending enough time in balmy Arizona to have bought a house there. In her testimony at the Times trial, Palin made sure to emphasize that she lives in Wasilla, though she added, “it’s not supereasy conditions living up there, but I’m used to it, and I don’t complain about it”—which sure sounds like a complaint about it.
The Constitution says residency is only required at the time of election, but voters in a state tend to prefer a candidate who lives there with them, come snow or come shine.
Don Young, whom Palin would replace in Congress, lived full-time above the Arctic Circle and once made a living as a trapper and fisherman. Nothing about Sarah Palin is that authentic. Does anyone believe she’s more at home in the wilderness than in front of a camera?
Palin has a couple months to decide if it’s God’s will that she should run. Whatever she decides, I hope she tells us how God came to His conclusion and just how He conveyed it to her.