Is Sarah Palin’s tour to promote her new book part of a canny strategy for 2012, a plan of which Sam Walton would have approved? J. Robert Smith at American Thinker believes it may be so, as her tour takes her to those places the elites ignore:
What’s notable about Sarah Palin’s book tour, which starts midweek, is where she’s not going. She’s not going to L.A. or New York, Boston or San Francisco. She’s going smack dab to the middle of the country. Fly-over country, liberals call it. And it’s a shrewd move, not only in selling books, but positioning herself for a presidential run in 2012, if she chooses.
It’s a strategy right out of the late Sam Walton’s playbook: go where there’s demand and the competition ain’t. Walton, who could have run and won political campaigns, built Walmart into the behemoth it is today by opening his discount stores in small towns in the heartland, towns that the eight-hundred pound gorilla K-Mart ignored.
Walton conquered the discount retail category from the heartland out. He didn’t so much as clobber K-Mart as steal a march on it. Palin may just prove that a heartland strategy does more than sell blenders and books. It’s the foundation for winning a national election.
And it isn’t just a political version of the Sam Walton Way: Smith points out the places she will visit are home to large numbers of Jacksonians, traditional Democrats who tend to be culturally conservative and aggressive about national security. This same group, also known as “Reagan Democrats,” formed a large part of the winning coalition in 1980 and the subsequent Republican dominance. Palin resonates with this group, and her tour and media appearances give her a chance also to repair her reputation (savaged by the major media, which acted as a propaganda arm for the DNC) with politically independent affluent suburbanites who, polls show, are deserting the Democrats and Obama in droves – witness the recent election results in New Jersey and Virginia.
Can a “from the heartland out” strategy win in 2012? Perhaps. Politics is the art of coalition-building, and right now there are large segments of the nation who do not feel their needs are being served or are actively being harmed by the political elites. Sarah Palin already has shown she can run an effective “anti-insiders” campaign, though it remains to be seen if can work on a national level as it did for Reagan – or if she’ll even decide to run in the first place.
Regardless, ignoring the big cities and staking your claim in “flyover country” is a strategy that would have made Sam Walton smile.