Anti-Trump conservatives have offered several theories to explain his political rise. One is that it’s all Barack Obama’s fault. Another is that Trump has tapped into a swell of economic anxiety among white working class voters.
They tend to discount the theory, propounded by liberals, that Trump is the inevitable result of a party that consistently cedes its authority to right-wing talk radio hosts, that flatters its nativist elements to boost voter turnout, that has forsaken basic policy-making and governance in favor of stoking the grievances of white revanchists, and that has grown more extreme with every passing year.
The recruitment of Sarah Palin, a populist clearly lacking the experience or intellect to be president, as the party’s vice-presidential pick in 2008 was an important step on the path to Trump. Her endorsement of Trump today only makes explicit what liberals have argued: that he is not some outlier, but an organic product of the GOP itself.
It remains unclear what impact this endorsement will have. Maybe none. But it’s striking that the running mate of John McCain is now endorsing the one guy in the 2016 race who crapped on McCain’s war record. At that point maybe it’s time to admit that the monster you have created is out of your control.