Palin rallies conservative support at Arena event
GCU News Bureau
As former Republican vice presidential candidate Sarah Palin triggered thunderous applause at Grand Canyon University Arena with her call to Americans to seize control of their own political ideology, she also took a moment on Thursday night to recognize the spot where she stood.
Palin thanked GCU for opening its doors to her evening of patriotic political conversation, which was organized by 960 The Patriot, in the newly expanded Arena where she knew “Thunder Dan” Majerle coaches Lopes basketball. She said she was pleased to be on a private, Christian campus where many people echoed her values — and that she hoped American politicians of all types would find their purpose as so many GCU students do each year.
“This school is doing so well, it’s a great example for higher education across the U.S.,” Palin told the audience of nearly 1,800, including a mix of GCU students, staff and other Valley residents.
Palin was critical of President Barack Obama throughout Thursday’s event, titled “United We Stand,” which also included speeches by conservative media commentators Dinesh D’Souza and Katie Pavlich. A rolling thunderstorm briefly knocked out some power in the Arena early in the event while D’Souza was speaking, though he rebounded with some jokes to smooth out the semi-darkness.
D’Souza authored the 2010 book, “The Roots of Obama’s Rage,” and subsequent film, “2016: Obama’s America,” which is listed among the highest-grossing political documentaries. His latest film, “America: Imagine the World Without Her,” was released earlier this year.
In 2010, D’Souza debated from a Christian apologetic perspective an atheist author in GCU’s Antelope Gym.
Palin burst onto the national political stage six years ago when, after three years as Alaska’s governor, she was chosen to be Sen. John McCain’s running mate on the Republican ticket in the 2008 presidential election.
Palin, who was mayor of Wasilla, Alaska, before becoming the youngest governor in that state’s history, recently launched her subscription-based Sarah Palin Channel as an online forum where Americans who are “tired of the media filters” can discuss the news and “go beyond the sound bites” of mainstream journalism.
Palin, 50, has not announced her next political plan and currently is not running for office, although she remains one of the most magnetic Tea Party politicians.
Palin has endorsed Republican Arizona gubernatorial candidate Doug Ducey, former state treasurer, in the Nov. 4 election, according to her personal political action committee website. Arizona GOP chairman Robert Graham also addressed Thursday’s audience, urging guests to exercise their right to vote.
GCU students who attended the event said they were drawn to campus on a busy weeknight, when many Americans were watching the first game of the NFL season, to hear fresh political discourse.
Digital film student Jeremy Bridges said he’s always been interested in American politics, noting political science was one of three associate’s degrees he earned before coming to GCU to study film. If Palin and D’Souza were going to be on campus, he refused to miss it.
“I will just come out and hear what they say, no matter who it is,” Bridges said.
Bridges’ friend, Peter Bellanova, a junior Christian studies major, said his father had recommended D’Souza’s literature.
“I generally haven’t followed politics, but I’m trying to learn more now that I’m older,” Bellanova said.