Sarah Palin’s Endorsement Curse

Greg Nash/WDCPIX.COM

Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


Quiz: What do these struggling or failed political aspirants all have in common?

  • Vaughn Ward, a GOP candidate for Idaho’s 1st congressional district who plagiarized Barack Obama’s famous 2004 Democratic National Convention speech and thought Puerto Rico was a separate country;
  • Nikki Haley, the South Carolina gubernatorial candidate embroiled in controversy with a political blogger who claims he had an affair with Haley, who is married with two children;
  • Doug Hoffman, the conservative candidate in last fall’s special House election in upstate New York’s 23rd district who ultimately lost in an upset to Democrat Bill Owens;
  • Tim Burns, the Republican candidate to fill the late Pennsylvania Democratic congressman John Murtha’s 12th district who lost to Democrat Mark Critz;
  • Clint Didier, the Republican candidate for Senate in Washington state trailing incumbent Democrat Patty Murray by anywhere from 15 to 26 percentage points; and
  • John McCain, the Republican loser in the 2008 presidential election

They’re all the (un)lucky recipients of campaign endorsements from the Tea Party darling herself, Sarah Palin! Of course, there’s no doubt Palin remains a superstar in conservative circles, her every tweet and Facebook message treated as conservative scripture these days. And she has been right on a few occasions—notably, Rand Paul in the recent Kentucky GOP Senate primary. But overall, her political seal of approval may be losing some of its luster.

And some of her fellow Republicans have noticed. In early May, Palin endorsed Carly Fiorina in the California Republican Senate primary. Later that month, Matt Rexroad, a director for political strategy group Meridian Pacific, which is employed by Fiorina’s campaign, posted on Facebook  that “if Sarah Palin endorsed me I would be too embarrassed to tell anyone. [F]rom my point of view, I don’t know how you quit as the governor of your state and get taken seriously.” Ouch.

I guess we’ll have to wait and see how the remaining candidates that Palin has blessed with her endorsement—Fiorina, Wisconsin House candidate Sean Duffy, et al—fare before deciding whether Palin’s support amounts to a golden touch or the kiss of death.

DOES IT FEEL LIKE POLITICS IS AT A BREAKING POINT?

Headshot of Editor in Chief of Mother Jones, Clara Jeffery

It sure feels that way to me, and here at Mother Jones, we’ve been thinking a lot about what journalism needs to do differently, and how we can have the biggest impact.

We kept coming back to one word: corruption. Democracy and the rule of law being undermined by those with wealth and power for their own gain. So we're launching an ambitious Mother Jones Corruption Project to do deep, time-intensive reporting on systemic corruption, and asking the MoJo community to help crowdfund it.

We aim to hire, build a team, and give them the time and space needed to understand how we got here and how we might get out. We want to dig into the forces and decisions that have allowed massive conflicts of interest, influence peddling, and win-at-all-costs politics to flourish.

It's unlike anything we've done, and we have seed funding to get started, but we're looking to raise $500,000 from readers by July when we'll be making key budgeting decisions—and the more resources we have by then, the deeper we can dig. If our plan sounds good to you, please help kickstart it with a tax-deductible donation today.

Thanks for reading—whether or not you can pitch in today, or ever, I'm glad you're with us.

Signed by Clara Jeffery

Clara Jeffery, Editor-in-Chief

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest