Sarah Palin knows the publicity game, and she knows how to work the spotlight to her political advantage. For this and many other reasons, it’s only logical that she would be the person to explain Donald Trump’s spectacular rise, fueled by just the same brand of media-based power she’s leveraged for more than a decade.

As it happened, Palin did just that on Sunday at the Politicon 2016 conference in Pasadena, Calif. In case there was any question about where she was heading as she made her entrance at the pop-culture-meets-politics summit, the title of her speech, “Your Garden Variety Everyday Pissed Off American,” spelled it out.

After sharing an onstage embrace wth her “friend,” CNN commentator Sally Kuhn and repeating her invite for Kuhn to “come slay some salmon in Alaska,” Palin came right out with the multi-billion-dollar-question of the 2016 election season: “So why is Trump winning?”

Current polls aside, Palin of course was ready with some answers. After setting the scene with an I-told-you-so critique of the Obama presidency, Palin said, “We knew the only counter to this was a revolution. But who would be the revolutionary? Instead of letting the media vet candidates for us, we asked who is not part of the problem?”

Answer: Trump, said Palin, what with his “earned income that is due respect,” and being that he “has has nothing to lose but knows that our very sovereignty is to gain,” and, most fancifully, who is “not palling around with crony capitalists, in bed with special interests … screwing the American worker.”

Not that there’s anything wrong with capitalism. The former Alaska governor was quick to cast Trump in the unlikely position of the “outsider” billionaire, who has amassed great wealth but remains close to the earth.

“Trump is a builder — he looks up and he builds big!” Palin said, echoing a familiar right-wing refrain about job creation and self-propelled, meritocratic success. “He knows that men in denim built this country,” she added, “but D.C. suits — and pantsuits — destroy it.”

Enter Hillary Clinton, she of the pantsuits. Somewhat surprisingly, Palin devoted relatively little airtime to Trump’s potential Democratic challenger to the White House, except for a requisite Benghazi dig involving a shadowy figure sending emails from deep within “some dude’s bathroom” in D.C. Instead, she preferred to focus on Trump, the “golden wrecking ball” who had “knocked the crap out of” establishment politicians from both sides of the aisle, as well as another treasured target of the right, the “hypocritical PC police.” Palin also predictably stumped for America’s armed forces and gun rights, staying on-message with the pro-Second Amendment portion of her program while hitting out against “the Obamacare lie” in a single gymnastic move: “You like your doc? You can keep your doc! … It’s gonna become, ‘you like your Glock? You can keep your Glock!'”

She took aim at America’s “Swiss-cheese borders,” railed against “silly protesters at the Trump rallies” (a riff which drew the loudest boos from the mostly subdued crowd) as well as “Repubilcans against Trump — or ‘RAT,’ for short.” In her biggest stretch yet, she took issue with “that ugly, ugly charge of racism” that Trump’s critics have pinned on him. “He’s got so many friends of every race, color and creed … persuasions — black friends, colleagues — all great relationships!” Palin said, as though reading directly from Trump’s Twitter feed. “And doggone it the press knows this; Trump was never called a racist until he decided to run against the Democrats, and this is the way this dirty business works, folks.”

Rounding out her array of policy points, Palin invoked the specter of Islamic State, which she conflated with Islam itself. “The biggest, most sinister threat? The Islamic ideology constituting ISIS,” she said. “Islam put the ‘I’ in ISIS,” she added, again encountering no push-back from the audience. Pointing fingers at “current leaders” for failing to share this view, she said, “They’re wrapping our children in a suicide vest.”

In closing, she played on the Trumpian theme of winning, claiming that after eight years under Obama’s leadership, America’s “enemies laugh at us … allies don’t trust us. USA — just settle for that participation ribbon,” she said, before praising the GOP candidate’s movement that in her estimation became a revolution and whose supporters watched him “rip the veil off a rigged system” and steal the GOP from under party leaders’ noses.

Overall, Palin’s speech was an unsurprising pastiche patched together from her trove of greatest-hits causes, catchphrases and all the zingers fit to print on her teleprompter. Trump couldn’t ask for a better spokesperson, and from reading Palin’s clear signals since the launch of his campaign, she could well be eyeing the White House herself — this time as a member of the Trump administration.

For now, though, at least a dozen polling percentage points and four other presidential candidates, including one in a pantsuit, still stand in her way.

Video footage (via YouTube)

Palin makes her entrance at the Pasadena Convention Center:

On Trump and “garden-variety, everyday, pissed-off Americans”:

–Posted by Kasia Anderson

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