On May 16th, Matt Lewis asked “Is Sarah Palin Biased Towards Female Candidates?” His general premise was that something didn’t quite feel right about Sarah Palin’s endorsement of Deb Fischer in Nebraska. He remembered the Carly Fiorina endorsement as an example. BUT while I have had the same general sense, especially based on my talks with friends in South Carolina who were miffed at her endorsement of Nikki Hailey, I wanted to explore the hard facts for myself.
Like clockwork, SP apologists always point out that SP endorses males too. But the question isn’t just whether she endorses men (in 2010 she endorsed more men than women), the question is whether she endorses women over men. OR as was my initial thought, maybe the women just so happen to be the TP favorites or the most conservative. So, here is my analysis of her 2010 endorsements:
In 2010, SP endorsed 64 candidates. She endorsed 27 women and 37 men. To do a thorough analysis, I divided all her endorsements into two categories: 1.) Contested Primaries and 2.) Either non-contested primaries OR general election endorsements (These really don’t provide us much information because they are essentially endorsements that ALL GOPers would make)
Of the 27 women she endorsed, 13 were in contested primaries. Of those contested races, all 13 endorsements were over male challengers (not so surprising as a woman v. woman primary would be rare in the GOP).
Of the 37 men she endorsed, 17 were in contested primaries. Of those contested races, 3 endorsements were over female challengers.
So, there were 16 contested primaries in which there was a male and female candidate to choose from in which SP made an endorsement, here are the gender/ideological differences.
13:3 Female to Male
9:7 Establishment v. TP
8:8 Conservative v. “Moderate”
This means that in contested primary races where there was a choice between gender, ideology, or anti-establishment sentiment, a candidate’s gender was a better predictor of who would receive Sarah Palin’s endorsement. This includes real head-scrachers like Kelly Ayotte, Nikki Hailey, and Carly.
WHY THIS MATTERS:
Identity politics is wrong…and progressive to its core. It says that a woman can’t represent men and that men can’t represent women. It also rears its ugly head with regards to race and religion. In fact, identity politics is the gateway drug to all “well-intentioned” government programs. As conservatives, we should rail against identity politics and when national figures, who the liberal media lumps us in with, embraces it. We have a duty to call them out! It isn’t sexist to ask what the reasons are for someone’s endorsement. And when the endorser describes her reasons as the candidate, “unique blend of steel magnolia and mama grizzly.” We should ask what that means and why in God’s name that has anything to do with what kind of Governor, Senator, or Rep they will be? If I endorsed someone and mentioned as my primary reasons that the guy was black and a father…wouldn’t I be questioned by my conservative cohorts? Yes. As I should be.
While there is a general debate over the cache of endorsements…(do they matter?) what cannot be left untilled is WHY we endorse…and if someone endorses mostly based on gender or race or religion…it is laziness, it is progressive, and it is antitheses to our movement as conservatives. I just wish more of conservative cohorts would call it instead of just whispering in the halls of power.