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‘Real America’ and Palin

MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” roiled, as most political shows will today, with discussions of Gov. Sarah Palin’s (R-Alaska) resignation. And as with most discussion of Palin, it featured well-paid New York or Washington-based pundits explaining why the second member of a Republican ticket that lost Indiana, Ohio and Virginia represented “real America.”

“Which vice presidential candidate was taken off the campaign trail and which one was out there drawing thousands of people?” asked Joe Scarborough. Of course, then-Sen. Joe Biden (D-Del.) was not “taken off the trail,” and as TWI’s Laura McGann has reported, Palin’s crowds were always overrated. Scarborough’s quasi-co-host Mika Brzezinski followed this up by saying Palin represented “real Americans,” and that some people in “urban America” didn’t get it.

This is fascinating. In 2004, Sen. John Kerry (D-Mass.) and Sen. John Edwards (D-N.C.) lost the presidency with 48.3 percent of the vote, and no one seriously suggested that they represented “real Americans” or anything else. As Ben Smith reported after the election, at least 79 percent of Americans now live in urban areas; the people with whose opinion Brzezinski is so concerned represent a demographic and political fringe. Famously, the county in North Carolina that Sarah Palin pegged as an outpost of “real America” went for Barack Obama over John McCain, by 18 points.

By every metric, Palin is one of the less popular Republican politicians on the national stage: her ticket even carried less of the vote in Alaska (59.4 percent) than the Bush/Cheney ticket carred in 2004 (61.1 percent). And yet mainstream pundits insists that she represents more of the country than the people who won the 2008 election. It’s quite extraordinary.

*You can follow TWI on Twitter and Facebook. *

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