On Thursday, Donald Trump announced that he was hiring Michael Glassner, a former Sarah Palin aide, to serve as his national political director. Trump issued a statement, saying:
I am pleased to welcome Michael Glassner to our national campaign leadership team. Mr. Glassner will certainly be an asset to us as we further cement our dominance in the 2016 GOP field.
The announcement came just two days after Trump suggested that, if elected, he would find a place for Sarah Palin in his cabinet.
Glassner served as a political aide to Sarah Palin during the McCain-Palin 2008 presidential run. He also served as a campaign aide for Bob Dole’s unsuccessful 1996 White House bid. In addition, Glassner served as a senior adviser to George W. Bush in Iowa, during Bush’s victorious 2000 presidential campaign.
While Glassner’s political experience may well prove to be an asset to Trump’s campaign, there is something almost poetic about Trump tapping a former Palin adviser to run his campaign. Trump’s “shoot from the hip” rhetorical style closely matches Palin’s, and both Republicans are prone to adopt extreme positions that rally the base, while alienating mainstream voters.
It is not clear whether Glassner will try to embrace Trump’s bombastic style or whether he will try to reign in the eccentric billionaire. Trump’s decision to hire from the remnants of the Sarah Palin train wreck, suggests his intent, at least, is to push forward full throttle with the Palin-esque type of campaign he is already running.
In 2008, McCain’s selection of Palin as a vice presidential campaign was initially greeted by gushing praise and a small spike in support for McCain’s candidacy. However, during the course of the campaign, Palin’s folksy rhetoric and her inability to answer questions about policy, caused her support to erode precipitously. Her handlers were unable to keep her from derailing the McCain-Palin campaign.
If Trump’s campaign has any parallels to the Palin mess in 2008, he is clearly still in the “voter honeymoon” stage. How he handles the next several weeks will determine whether Trump has staying power or whether he will crash and burn the way Palin did in 2008. Win or lose, he now has Michael Glassner on board to rise or fall with him.