Because we haven’t had enough, apparently, Sarah Huckabee Sanders is expected to announce her bid for Arkansas governor in a video on Monday.
Sanders has been “quietly planning” her campaign for the office over the last year, according to NBC News, in a plot to continue terrorizing us for at least the next four.
Running for governor has been a long-held dream of Sanders’s, whose father, Mike Huckabee, held the office from 1996 to 2007. It’s also been a (somewhat) long-held dream of Trump’s, who reportedly encouraged Sanders to run after her departure from the White House in June 2019. At the time she held the line that she was leaving her role as press secretary to spend more time with her family—a favorite explanation of elected officials and appointees who resign their posts. But if NBC’s timeline is correct, it seems that after a break of six months or so—save for her role as a Fox News contributor, naturally—she was back to planning her political future.
The New York Times considers Sanders’s bid for Arkansas governor to be the first “test of Mr. Trump’s remaining strength in the Republican Party,” which has fractured in the wake of the former president’s baseless election fraud claims and the resulting insurrection. Unlike many of the officials who served in the Trump administration, Sanders persisted in being one of his favorites (and, as far as we know, left of her own volition). And so she remains closely aligned with Trump, and his statements and actions following the 2020 election, even though she hasn’t worked for him in more than a year.
I struggle to imagine what Sanders will be like on the campaign trail. In a 2018 profile, Politico’s Jason Schwartz wrote that Sanders’s greatest talent was her ability to “deaden a room”:
You almost have to be in the White House briefing room, a claustrophobic space packed tight with reporters and photographers, to appreciate her art. When the bright lights are on and the cameras are snapping and everyone is yelling, “Sarah! Sarah!” with their hands in the air, a palpable electricity flows through it. The moment Sanders unleashes her trademark monotone, the energy drains.
Trademark monotone? A complete drain on energy? These qualities of Sanders’s–with which most of us are more than familiar—may only be assets when one is defending a president’s indefensible actions before the press, not when one is courting voters. Still, I suspect Sanders’s gift for making compelling fiction out of blatant lies and leveraging her cynical brand of conservative white womanhood will only come in handy during her run.