The question for many conservatives who are strong Palin supporters is what might they do if Palin is not the 2012 nominee? The answer depends on how the nomination was decided.
If Palin is not the G.O.P.’s 2012 presidential nominee because she chose not to run, then it may behoove her followers to do as she would-work and vote for whomever is the nominee.
Palin has already given, by her example, the direction to do exactly that. This by her strong vocal support and her campaign activity for John McCain, who is hardly the darling of the Tea Party, for his senate seat re-election bid.
That is what would be expected of Palin given her strength of character. Which character attributes include loyalty-loyalty to person and party even though this has brought her some degree of criticism. As always, where moral issues come into play Palin can be trusted to do what is right even though it might cost her support.
If Palin is not the nominee the 2012 election shapes up to be a nondescript affair. This is especially so if there are no primary battles, thus giving a campaign redolent of the Clinton versus Dole 1996 snore fest-even more so if the economy has improved. However, there are significant strategic aspects which come into play for 2016.
Firstly the Republicans 2008 electoral college results must be held in 2012 as a solid base for 2016. It is possible that there could be gains for the G.O.P. in a non-contentious election as well if the impetus to vote by the black community is not as strong as it was in 2008
If Obama’s election in an improved economic situation looks certain, and the historic aspect of his being the first black elected to the presidency no longer has the driving force value it did, then North Carolina, Indiana and perhaps Virginia might swing back to the Republicans. These gains, plus the five or so gains for the G.O.P. in electoral college votes due to population shifts, would provide a decent showing and platform for 2016. It is unlikely that Florida/Ohio/Colorado would swing to the Republicans under this scenario and Obama would have his second term.
Voting rather than sitting it out is also important as it would guarantee more votes for down ballot candidates. This could ensure, presuming the Republicans had gained the House in 2010, that Congress could be captured which would prevent the implementation of further radical polices and that Obama would effectively be a lame duck president from day one of his second term. It would also put a block on his ability to ram though the senate radical choices for any Supreme Court vacancies.
If in 2012 the economy is still in dire straights and Obama has proven beyond doubt he is a second Jimmy Carter (worse actually, at least Carter did not have a radical agenda) then it will not matter how conservatives cast their primary ballots as there will a landslide to the G.O.P no matter who is the candidate. It would be hoped there would be a significant position in the incoming government for Palin,if she is not the nominee, which would serve both the country and her long term interest well.
If Palin chooses to run but does not get the nomination things get a lot tougher for conservatives. Under this scenario the number one priority would be to ensure that they got out to work for, and vote for, those down ticket candidates who reflect conservative principles.
If by not voting for the presidential candidate the Republicans suffered an electoral college disaster like McGovern’s in 1972 for example, it would be of little consequence taking the longer term view, especially if the Republican’s controlled Congress.
Again, whomever the nominee is conservatives must vote for the down ticket candidates as a check on Obama’s radical agenda. Electoral college disasters of even McGovern's magnitude can easily be turned around, as the Democratic party did just four years later, when they won in 1976. Turning around House and Senate losses is a much harder proposition.
As far as the top of the ticket is concerned there is no doubt that Palin would loyally campaign, as Reagan did for Ford, for the candidate the party chose ahead of her.
However, no such imperative weighs on the shoulders of the millions of her supporters which include Independents and Democratic party supporters-especially the Hillary Clinton Supporting “Puma’s”.
Our loyalty as conservatives goes beyond the person of Sarah Palin to the transcendent ideals which she embodies. These include freedom, free enterprise, life, a fair economy with opportunity for all and a small, lower tax government and an America First attitude in foreign affairs. Above all it looks to seeking the guidance of God.
If Palin does not get the nomination due to primary battles lost on a one against one basis we can support the nominee whilst believing in our hearts that the Republican voters were mistaken. This without being in the slightest subject to the ridiculous accusation of being elitists or sore losers and prepare to do battle for her in 2016 or 2020.
If the primary battle losses are caused by a multitude of candidates on the right splitting the vote Palin supporters will have every right to be angry. This is especially so if the multitude includes candidates who in reality have no chance of winning the nomination but are just there to ensure she also does not get it. If by this method, or by old guard insider establishment machinations Palin is denied the nomination then to me there is only one course open.
That will be to vote the down ballot ticket and write in Palin’s name for president and the day after the election go to work to ensure she gets the nomination for 2016.