Now that the election is over, political pundits are looking ahead to 2012 – and Sarah Palin is central to that discussion. Granted, Governor Palin energized the Republican base. She’s young, ambitious, and has gained much experience and exposure since vaulting into the national spotlight. Given the way she attracts crowds, some call her the Republican Rock Star.
On the other hand, historical precedence indicates that the future success for the vice presidential nominees isn’t a prime road to the Oval Office. Consider the following facts.
- There have been 34 presidential elections since 1876
- 73 tickets received electoral votes
- Since 7 tickets were incumbents, that leaves 66 different VP candidates
- 5 of the 66 VP candidates assumed the presidency due to death (Arthur, T Roosevelt, Collidge, Truman, LB Johnson)
- 1 sitting VP won an election (GHW Bush 1988)
- 3 sitting VPs lost an election as the nominee (Nixon 1960, Humphrey 1968, Gore 2000)
- 1 former VP latter returned as the nominee and won (Nixon 1968)
- 2 former VPs latter returned as the nominee and lost (Mondale 1984)
- 1 losing nonincumbent VP nominee returned as the presidential nominee and lost (Dole 1976/1996)
- 1 losing nonincumbent VP nominee returned as the presidential nominee and won (FDR 1920/1932)
She will be remembered and be an important face within Republican circles for a long time. If she desires a future in Washington, she will use the next two years to raise funds and increase her knowledge.
On the other hand, her high negative rating will be forever stick with many. She is linked to political ideals that was soundly defeated – ideals that are not culturally inclusive; ideals dividing society; ideals without compromise.
So as the discussion about the rebranding of the Republican Party, many partisans still see Sarah Palin as the guiding light. There goes the rebranding idea!
If mainstream America is center-right, rebranding must move toward the center – a movement that the Republican Right is unwilling to do. A 2012 Palin-led ticket may energize the base; may continue to draw large crowds of partisans, but will be doomed for failure because it does not reach to the center to attract independent moderates.
If she wants to be in Washington, say hello to Senator Palin. So who will be the next Republican in the White House? The independent moderates will decide both who and when.