Sarah Palin will not run for president in 2012

Ending months of speculation, the former vice-presidential candidate rules herself out of the race.

Sarah Palin has announced that she will not enter the presidential race, ending months of speculation.

In a letter to her supporters, the doyenne of the Tea Party movement said:

After much prayer and serious consideration, I have decided that I will not be seeking the 2012 GOP nomination for president of the United States.

As always, my family comes first and obviously Todd and I put great consideration into family life before making this decision. When we serve, we devote ourselves to God, family and country. My decision maintains this order.

Her will-she-won't-she antics have overshadowed the race so far. She even upstaged frontrunner Mitt Romney on the day he announced his campaign, by launching a tour on what looked remarkably like a campaign bus.

Palin never set up a professional campaign staff, but kept teasing the media - and her supporters - with hints that she was still in the running. This year-long tease eventually cost her support in the polls. This week, a Washington Post poll showed two-thirds of Republicans did not want her to stand.

On top of this, the entry of Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry to the race split the conservative vote upon which Palin relies. It has long been suspected that she may prefer to stick with the extremely lucrative career she has carved out as a media personality. She even used her Fox show last month to wonder aloud about the presidency: "Is a title worth it? Does a title shackle a person?"

The New Jersey governor, Chris Christie, also bowed out of the race this week. These decisions finally clarify the Republican field, as no other candidates are likely to throw their hats in the ring at such a late stage.

It's now essentially a race between Mitt Romney and Rick Perry, with the pizza magnate Hermann Cain experiencing a surge in the polls. However, none of the candidates have caused much of a stir.

Palin said that she plans to throw her weight behind the Republican nominee - although she declined to support any one candidate - and said that she can be of more help from outside the race:

My decision is based upon a review of what commonsense conservatives and independents have accomplished, especially over the last year. I believe that at this time I can be more effective in a decisive role to help elect other true public servants to office - from the nation's governors to Congressional seats and the presidency.

She may not be entering the presidential race, but Palin will not be disappearing from our screens any time soon.

 

Samira Shackle is a freelance journalist, who tweets @samirashackle. She was formerly a staff writer for the New Statesman.

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There is one thing Donald Trump can't build a wall against

Muslim immigrants don't bring terrorism - ideology does. 

Rather than understanding the root of the Islamist extremist issue and examining the global scale of the challenge, one US presidential candidate has decided to pin his domestic security hopes on the demonisation of a particular group of people. 
 
The arrest of Ahmad Khan Rahami over the recent New York bombing, an Afghan-born naturalised US citizen, proved too tantalising an opportunity for the Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump to once again conflate terrorism and immigration. Taking aim at his rival Hillary Clinton, Trump claimed that she “wants to allow hundreds of thousands of these same people", people who he described as having hatred and sickness in their hearts.
 
It is unclear who exactly Mr Trump is referring to here, one can only assume that it is a reference to Muslims, more specifically those not born in the US, and their apparent deep-rooted hatred for all things American. These comments will no doubt strengthen support for his campaign among those who have remained supportive of his overtly anti-Muslim stance, but the reality is that Mr Trump is rather missing the point.
 
Trump’s insistence on profiling Muslims as a measure to curb terrorism is not merely offensive; it reinforces the "us versus them" rhetoric used by the very terrorists he is trying to defeat.
 
The attack on the Pulse nightclub in Orlando earlier this year was described as the deadliest mass shooting by a single attacker in American history. Omar Mateen, the perpetrator, was not an immigrant. Born in New York, Mateen was an American citizen by birth. This, however, did not stop him from killing dozens of innocent people and wounding many more. 
 
One of the most influential jihadi ideologues, certainly in the Western world, was in fact an American. Not a naturalised citizen, but a born American, Anwar al-Awlaki was a central figure in the propaganda output of al-Qaeda’s affiliate in the Arabian Peninsula. Awlaki’s ideas are reported to have been a significant factor in the radicalisation of the Tsarnaev brothers, the perpetrators of the deadly Boston Marathon bombing. 
 
Putting the spotlight on immigration as the most effective means to curb terrorism ignores the real problem; the ideology. The poisonous, divisive, and intolerant mindset that is at the heart of the matter is the real culprit. This ideology, which presents itself as a "true" reflection of Islam is nothing more than a politically motivated worldview that seeks to spread hatred and violence. 
 
Research from the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics has shown that those individuals who buy into this worldview come from a multitude of backgrounds. Some are from poor backgrounds while others are from more affluent ones, some are well-educated while others aren’t. The truth is that there is no prototype terrorist - the common denominator, however, is that they share an ideology. Focusing on immigration as a source for terrorists fails to acknowledge the wide and varied pool from which they recruit.
 
The ideology, which perverts the shared religious heritage that 1.6bn Muslims around the world hold dear, is not simply a threat to the US, but to the world over. There is no wall high enough, no trench deep enough, and no bomb big enough to destroy this ideology. 
 
While the focus on Isis conjures images of the Middle East, this year alone we have witnessed deadly attacks committed by the group including Indonesia, Bangladesh, France, Germany, and Belgium. The ideology that drives the violence is transnational; it’s a global threat that necessitates a global response.
 
The transnational appeal and threat of this ideology is evident with the recent phenomena of online radicalisation. Men and women, boys and girls, have been lured by these ideas from the safety of their own homes, with these powerful ideas moving some to join causes in lands they have never visited. 
 
Recent attacks in France, Germany, and indeed the US, have demonstrated how items that can be obtained ordinarily, such as vehicles and knives, are being weaponised to cause maximum damage. But would a ban on knives and trucks be the solution? The only effective means for defeating terrorists is by challenging and dismantling their ideological appeal, effectively sapping the substance that fuels the violence.
 
Mr Trump, who may become Commander-in-Chief of the world’s most formidable army, must recognise that we are engaged in a battle of ideas, similar to that of the Cold War. A battle in which opposing worldviews are key, words are important, and taking control of the narrative is paramount.
 
In this battle of ideas, Mr Trump is not only hampering the global efforts against groups like Isis and its ilk, but actually reinforcing the ideas put forward by the extremists. Our leaders should not mirror the intolerant attitudes of our enemies or echo their binary worldview. 
Though, when it comes to the Republican candidate, his past statements on the topic indicate, perhaps, that this aim is overly ambitious.
 
Our response must be clear and robust, but we must first acknowledge who, or what, the enemy is. Muslims coming to the US are not the enemy, Muslims born in America are not the enemy, the enemy is the poisonous ideology that has manipulated Islam.
 
Defeating this transnational ideology requires alliances, not alienation. Mr Trump has expressed his commitment to work with allies in the Middle East to fight terrorism, but it is just as important to foster good relations with American Muslims. They can, and should, play an integral role in defeating Islamist extremism at home.

Mubaraz Ahmed is an analyst at the Centre on Religion and Geopolitics. He tweets at @MubarazAhmed.