Put former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin (R) in the same room with presidential candidate Donald TrumpDonald TrumpRepublican opposition to raising the minimum wage Is crumbling GOP senator: 'Highly unlikely’ voter fraud sways election Clinton mocks 'comedy' of Trump saying he won debate MORE (R) for a "major" endorsement in the Iowa caucus, and what do you get? You get the political belly-flop of the year, a ridiculous moment that wins saturation coverage from the Trump-obsessed mainstream media but backfires against the candidate who calls opponents "losers" but wound up losing in Iowa.
During the original Palin endorsement of Trump, her flamboyance eclipsed even Trump, who stood watching while probably trying to find a way to get off the stage. Palin was dressed to the nines with attire that, while not presidential, certainly caught the eye of the camera and was irresistible to television producers desperate to give more airtime to Trump.
The saddest part of Palin's support for Trump was her attempt to discuss the charges against her son, who served with honor in the military but was apparently diagnosed with post-traumatic stress syndrome, as a means to somehow suggest that President Obama was to blame for the legal problems facing her son.
The fiasco surrounding the Palin endorsement gave "Saturday Night Live" — which had previously featured Trump as a guest host in a way that was grossly inappropriate during a primary or caucus campaign — the opportunity to bring back the brilliant Tina Fey for her wonderful impersonation of Palin. It was great television, but this latest television event in the end performed no service to Trump as he inexorably marched to a stunning caucus defeat in Iowa.
(At least "Saturday Night Live" had the good grace to not impersonate Trump's condescending mocking of a disabled reporter in November, another new low in presidential campaign tactics.)
What ultimately did Trump in with Iowa voters was not the charm of Texas Sen. Ted Cruz, nor even the surge of Florida Sen. Marco Rubio, but the fact that a large number of Iowa voters were repelled by the kind of campaign that Trump had run and were repulsed by the notion of the kind of president that Trump would make.
What was so delicious about the Palin endorsement of Trump — for those of us who are contemptuous of the media adoration of Trump and the campaign of insults that Trump has run — is that Palin brought together many aspects of the freak show, reality-show campaign that Trump is running.
Palin is indeed telegenic, but as Trump learned the hard way in Iowa, too much television coverage can be a two-way street. The more saturated the airwaves became with the reality-television-show personality of Palin and the reality-television-show personality of Trump, the more saturated the airwaves became with the lightweight politics of Palin and the insult politics of Trump — and the more it all hurt Trump with Iowa voters.
It takes a lot to make Cruz look charming and presidential — everything being relative — but in Iowa, Trump did his part and the ubiquitous Palin did her part, too.
It also takes a lot, for some of us at least, to make Glenn Beck look like a reasonable statesman, but I found Beck's criticism of Trump to be reasoned and intelligent.
In the meantime, as a Democrat, I hope that Trump revives his candidacy and is nominated by the GOP, since polls tend to show both candidates for the Democratic nomination, Hillary Clinton and Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), defeating Trump by a landslide margin. So my advice to Trump would be to cancel his Sarah Palin show before American voters follow Iowa voters and cancel the Donald Trump campaign.
Budowsky was an aide to former Sen. Lloyd Bentsen (D-Texas) and former Chief Deputy Majority Whip Bill Alexander (D-Ark.). He holds an LL.M. degree in international financial law from the London School of Economics. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.