Palin Backs Trump
Dr. G. Terry Madonna Weighs in on Former GOP VP Candidate Palin’s Endorsement of Trump
Last night Sarah Palin endorsed Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump. The former governor of Alaska and Republican vice-presidential candidate who once landed in Lititz during the 2008 campaign, threw her political clout behind the controversial GOP candidate who is leading in the polls. But what role do endorsements play in this presidential primary season? Dr. G. Terry Madonna, Director of the Center for Politics ad Public Affairs at Franklin and Marshall College and a popular Pennsylvania pundit, weighed in today on the endorsement in an interview with dr-feelgoods.com.
“I’m not a firm believer that these endorsements make a big difference,” said Madonna. “I just don’t think they’re nearly as important as they used to be,” said Madonna, who has taught and written about the American presidency and the behavior of American political parties for over thirty years.
“I think endorsements matter if a) they help you raise money, and b) if people can put something behind it, like the proverbial boots on the ground-workers and staffers,” he said.
Madonna believes the Trump’s campaign may have courted Palin’s endorsement to sway some Evangelical Christians into his camp. He recalled that an Evangelical base largely supported Rick Santorum, and feels that Palin may have been a natural choice to offset progress made by Sen. Ted Cruz to date.
“This year the Evangelicals are supporting Cruz,” said Madonna, “So who could [Trump] bring in to make a difference?”
Some political observers have speculated that the timing of the endorsement, which coincided with national news broadcasts last night, was more about exposure than generating genuine support.
“I think it’s about the news cycle, it’s about keeping your opponents off [of the media]. You get to dominate the media when it matters,” said Madonna.
As for the presidential primary, Madonna has never seen anything like it.
“We’re in uncharted territory. We’ve never had an election quite like this,” he said. Madonna, the Director of the Franklin and Marshall College Poll.
Madonna readily admits that he and other political experts believed that statements made by Trump early in the campaign that were controversial would cause his political demise. Madonna has since shifted his view.
“I’m one of those who actually thinks that conceivably, he could win the nomination. I’m not predicting that he will. But two months ago I was among the chorus of people saying ‘he can’t win, he can’t win. Now I’m just not sure.”
Madonna is basing his uncertainty on three things-“somewhat based on the polls, on his domination of the news cycle, and that he can say the most outrageous thing and it doesn’t cost him support.”
On February 1, the Iowa caucuses will take place in over 1,700 locations throughout the state. Voters in Pennsylvania, however, will have to wait until April 26 before casting their ballot in the primary election.
Madonna explained that the two processes are very different, with the caucus as a longer, more involved.
“People will show up who live in that particular voting district, and sit through a couple hours of debate and a discussion about the candidates and the issues,” said Madonna. People are then asked to vote, then the caucus results are sent to the county level.
“It’s a very complicated process that involves a couple of hours,” said Madonna. “The caucus is meant to be a grass roots operation in which the average folks go and hash out, get involved with their neighbors and have a discussion of who they’re supporting and why,” said Madonna.
Palin’s support of Trump has some wondering if there will be a Trump/Palin ticket should Trump win the Republican nomination.
In the meantime, Mandonna wonders if Trump can deliver supporters to the caucus.
“In Trump’s case, many of his supporters have never been to a caucus. They’re not regular voters,” said Madonna. “So the big question with Trump is, can he turn his people out?” He doesn’t have a substantial organization at the grass-roots level making sure that his supporters turn out.”
“Cruz is much better organized,” said Madonna. “Remember how you’re organizing-900 counties, almost 1,700 caucus meetings. That takes a lot of organization. You’ve got to get those people out and they’ve got to be willing to stay the evening.
For Pennsylvanians, the primary voting process will be much quicker in the Keystone State.
“We’re going to go in, put an X on a box, or do it on a screen, and then we’re going home,” said Madonna. “We’re not sitting around for four hours and getting into a debate and listening to issues.”