The United States has a weird history with vice presidents. The position is Constitutionally weak and most of the powers only kick in if the president dies. The second amendment passed after the Bill of Rights was ratified a decade after the Constitution and had the effect of making a vice president aware that they were running for a job with little power.
The irony is that when a president died in office, the Vice President was a guy chose by the President as running mate specifically to get him out of the way. The Republicans were trying to get TR out of the way as VP when McKinley was killed and the Democrats wanted LBJ out of Congress by making him VP. And then Kennedy was killed.
Other Vice presidential running mates end up further out of the party after their campaign loses. Paul Ryan (from 2012) is losing his popularity and influence by the day after reluctantly becoming Speaker of the House. John Edwards peaked in 2004 and then was brought down by scandal during his 2008 presidential run. Joe Lieberman ran for Vice president in 2000, then supported Republican George W. Bush in 2004 and left the Senate after barely winning the election in 2006.
Sarah Palin had a fairly bad time as the 2008 Republican Vice Presidential nominee. While she added much needed excitement to the McCain ticket, she was often the scapegoat for problems in the campaign and was relegated to the crowd work she excelled in over McCain. After going back to Alaska, the Democrats in the legislature used lawfare to get her to resign. Then she became a voice in the Tea Party movement, something that was never effectively embraced by the Republican Party.
Unlike most every other Trump supporter, I understand Palin’s motives. She was rejected by the Republican establishment and ignored by most Republican office holders. Palin holds a high place in the Trump campaign and was one of the early endorsements that propelled him forward.
Trump, Ryan, Palin and even Ted Cruz are examples of why the Tea Party and the Republican Party were not going to co-exist for very long. The Republicans tried the angry white man strategy in the 1990’s to no avail. They’ve turned to a desperate attempt to look like the adults in the room and offering something for Hispanics and Asians to keep their party from going under. The effectiveness of the Tea Party itself is in some doubt. Republicans did well in 2014 without much Tea Party exposure.
Now we’re at a crossroads. Donald Trump was the only Tea Party candidate with the ability to make it past the roadblocks from the GOP. The problem is that a lot of Republicans would rather eliminate the Tea Party’s bad choices than secure a temporary victory with them. Trump supporters are now vacillating between demanding support from Republicans who don’t like Trump to bold pronouncements that he can win without them.
Sadly, that’s where Sarah Palin is. She has decided to call the “Never Trump” group traitors if they don’t blindly support Donald no matter what he says, how badly his operation is running and how many Neo-Nazi sites his retweeted memes came from. I have held back from declaring myself never Trump. However, if Trump requires my allegiance and at the same time he does nothing to make himself a better candidate, that Trump is never going to work for me.
Sarah Palin has a place in a Trump presidency. I don’t think she has a place in the Republican Party if he loses.