Obama: Palin shifted country, GOP in direction McCain ‘abhorred’

Former President Barack Obama railed against the ideological shift of the Republican Party in his forthcoming memoir, arguing that Sarah Palin’s rise during the 2008 election paved the way for divisive figures like President Trump and that she took the party in a direction the late Sen. John McCain “abhorred.”

In the book “A Promised Land,” set to release Tuesday and previewed by CNN, Mr. Obama wrote that he thinks McCain, the 2008 Republican presidential nominee, would have chosen someone different as his running mate had he known Ms. Palin would bring the fringe elements of the party into the mainstream.

“Through Palin, it seemed as if the dark spirits that had long been lurking on the edges of the modern Republican Party — xenophobia, anti-intellectualism, paranoid conspiracy theories, an antipathy toward Black and Brown folks — were finding their way to center stage,” Mr. Obama wrote, CNN reported.

Mr. Obama reported seeing the Republican Party dramatically shift during his eight years in the White House and blamed “racial anxiety” for their obstructionism.

“It was as if my very presence in the White House had triggered a deep-seated panic, a sense that the natural order had been disrupted,” he wrote. “Which is exactly what Donald Trump understood when he started peddling assertions that I had not been born in the United States and was thus an illegitimate president. For millions of Americans spooked by a Black man in the White House, he promised an elixir for their racial anxiety.”

Mr. Obama blamed Ms. Palin’s “spectacular rise and her validation as a candidate” as providing “a template for future politicians, shifting his party’s center and the country’s politics overall in a direction [McCain] abhorred.”

“I’d like to think that given the chance to do it over again, he might have chosen differently,” he said. “I believe he really did put his country first.”

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