Sarah Palin’s constant scrambling for words is almost enchanting. Bewitched, Joseph Ward explores why.
Nowadays, many seem to believe that we live in a time without great orators or inspirational leaders. The growth of the hard right across the globe, from Poland’s Law and Justice Party to the emergence of the Tea Party in the USA, has produced numerous demagogues; however, few have been more prominent than Sarah Palin.
Palin, the former governor of Alaska, shot to fame after her controversial candidacy for vice-president on John McCain’s 2008 ticket. Palin quickly became little more than a caricature – members of her own party have even criticised her inexperience. However, despite the numerous rebukes she has received, she remained popular, especially among the notorious Tea Party wing of the Republican Party. None could remark that her bumbling, recently demonstrated at the Trump rally, was an oral masterpiece. However I do believe her to be possibly one of the smartest orators of our time.
When looking at a transcript of the speech, it would be hard to argue that it was completely lucid or poignantly structured. It even seemed that she struggled to collate sentences. Her blithering style of barnstorming admittedly lacks grace but her energy and vivacity truly resonates with GOP voters and beyond.
She’s vibrant. She’s raw. She’s there in the moment and her “right wingin’, bitter, proud clingers of guns” conglomerate of working conservatives are electrified by her very presence. Her twee little jokes such as: “This election is more than just your basic ABCs: anybody but Clinton,” and her constant scrambling for words is almost enchanting. Here is a woman who is speaking her mind and she’s doing it without remorse – and it’s great.
Whether it was showing her good old Bible-bashing self and asking for a “hallelujah,” or threatening to kick “Isis ass,” to many of us in England, Palin’s outright ridiculousness relegates her views to nothing more than dangerous extremism. Endorsing a candidate, whose most well-known policies include temporarily banning all Muslims from entering the United States and building a wall to keep the Mexicans out, would often indicate them as either a rogue or a fool. However, with Palin, it’s not about whether she believes what she says or not; as a great orator, her main aim is simply to resonate with her target audience.
Palin understands one thing that most politicians don’t: the majority of people don’t understand political jargon. In our country, this is equally as true. It’s easy to forget that during last year’s opposition debate, the most commonly Googled question was “what is austerity?” Palin disregards the political elite and her fans elevate her for it. She says what they see. She is their voice, as it sounds, and that is the truly her gift. In a time where politicians seem the same, wrapped up in a veil of establishment elitism, Palin is simply that refreshing break and even if you don’t agree with her whatsoever, it is her vitality that makes her fun and enigmatic just for the ride.