Donald Trump has assumed the mantle once worn by Sarah Palin as the "politician most fluent in American rage," and is shrewdly "riding the wave of anxiety" first identified in Palin's 2008 campaign, a former adviser says.
In a biting opinion piece for The New York Times
, Nicolle Wallace, the former campaign manager for the GOP White House ticket of John McCain and Palin, calls the connection between the former Alaska governor and the real estate billionaire "undeniable."
"With his call to deport illegal immigrants, especially because Mexico sends us its 'bad ones,' his proposal to bar Muslims from entering the country, his emphasis on the threats to lawful gun ownership and his promise to protect American goods and workers from China, Mr. Trump is riding the wave of anxiety that Ms. Palin first gave voice to as Sen. John McCain's running mate," she writes.
"Mr. Trump has now usurped and vastly expanded upon Ms. Palin's constituency."
Wallace writes Trump's decision to run for president was a "shrewd" move, as was Palin's endorsement.
"Trump's bet: When the politician most fluent in American rage roars, the movement she gave voice to in the fall of 2008 will roar back today," she writes.
"Mr. Trump improves upon Ms. Palin's jagged attempts at a post-2008 message with a vision for reclaiming American greatness by promising better trade deals, improved care for veterans, a more successful foreign policy based on his personal strength and immigration reform that is based mostly on building a wall."
"His proposals are, at best, vague and of questionable legal soundness, but they've propelled his candidacy by inflaming voter concern that America has lost ground," Wallace adds.
"Should he come out on top in Iowa, he has her to thank."
Wallace notes when Palin ran with the Arizona senator eight years ago, the campaign had its largest crowds, noting "her legacy lies in her innate ability to wrap herself in the anger that those voters felt."
"Voters stood for hours on the rope line to meet her," she writes. "While Sen. McCain seemed slightly unnerved by the intensity of their discontent, Ms. Palin basked in it."
"The growing furor in the Republican Party was something that we, as a campaign, failed to address, but to the crowds, Sarah Palin proved the more satisfying politician on the ticket because of it," she adds.
"Ms. Palin owned the resentment voters in the Republican Party."
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