The Improbable Trump/Palin Alliance

By Published on September 30, 2015

Jerry, how much do you think Lorne Michaels would pay me if I were to run in 2016?” Sarah Palin asked Jerry Seinfeld in a skit that aired as part of Saturday Night Live’s 40th anniversary special in February.

“Run for president? Sarah, I don’t think there’s a number too big,” Seinfeld responded.

“Hypothetically, then, what if I were to choose Donald Trump as my running mate?” Palin continued.

“Sarah, you’re teasing us, that’s not nice!” Seinfeld responded in mock indignation.

Eight months ago, the idea of Donald Trump appearing on a GOP presidential ticket was literally the punchline of a joke. Today, Trump is the front-runner for the Republican nomination, and arguably the field’s most natural successor to Palin, who has enthusiastically aided his campaign.

It’s hard to imagine a more improbable alliance. The first decades of Trump and Palin’s lives couldn’t have been more different. The Christian social conservatism that drives Palin is at best a perfunctory afterthought for Trump. She began her political career driven by outrage at a group of self-interested Alaska politicians who called themselves the “corrupt bastards club”; Trump brags about his ability to get what he wants from politicians in exchange for donations. And it seems likely the pair don’t quite align in their views of popular culture. Palin’s daughter Bristol ripped Miley Cyrus as an example of pop stars who proclaim tolerance while showing contempt for Christians; Trump reportedly told Cyrus he “loved” her provocative performance at the MTV Video Music Awards.

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