Everyone who could read a poll or a room in Alaska knew Sarah Palin was unpopular in her home state. What was jarring to Republicans about her defeat in a U.S. House race there was that so many conservatives were unwilling to vote for her, anyway.
In an election that could spell disaster for pro-Donald Trump hard-liners in states across the midterm electoral map, only about half of voters who supported a more traditionalist Republican, Nick Begich III, as their first choice in Alaska’s new ranked-choice voting system marked Palin as their second pick.
The others went for the Democrat or no one at all.
Palin, a former governor and one-time political sensation, had tethered herself to Trump in a reliably red state, with a similarly fervent base of support. But her race, more than any primary this year, had approximated a traditional general election where a candidate is rewarded for appealing to a broad swath of voters.
Her defeat was