There are boxes that US presidential hopefuls have to tick early. They have to start building a campaign team, albeit discreetly. They have to set up a fundraising machine. And they have to visit Iowa, the small but politically crucial state that traditionally kicks off a White House run.
Sarah Palin has ticked the first two and on Friday will tick the third when she is the main speaker at a $100-a-seat Republican dinner in Des Moines, Iowa. The party’s sole superstar has not yet said whether she will seek the nomination to take on Barack Obama in 2012. But all the indications point to a run, and Friday’s visit is the biggest sign yet.
Democrats may detest her, and so does the Republican establishment, for her perceived lack of sophistication and polarising effect on the electorate. But neither will make the choice in the Iowa caucus. The party activists will, and they are shifting behind her. Long before the contest has formally begun, Palin is fast on the way to becoming unstoppable.
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