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Kathy Griffin, Nancy Sinatra Mock Sarah Palin Over Election Loss

Newsweek 08/09/2022 Ryan Smith
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Kathy Griffin and Nancy Sinatra have mocked former Governor of Alaska Sarah Palin for saying the "entire country should be angry" over her recent election loss in the state.

Democrat Mary Peltola upset the Donald Trump-backed Republican Palin on August 31 in a special election to represent the longtime Republican-leaning state in Congress. Peltola also defeated another Republican, Nick Begich III, who placed third.

The 2022 contest to fill the remainder of late Republican Congressman Don Young's term was the first-ever federal election in Alaska to be decided using ranked-choice voting.

It is a system that allows voters to rank candidates from their first choice down to the last. Those opting for Begich could choose either Peltola or Palin as their second choice for the seat.

Under that system, which was narrowly approved by voters in 2020, if any candidate fails to get more than 50 percent of the vote in any round, lower tiers of candidates are eliminated.

Voter preferences on the ballot are then used to conduct "instant runoffs" until a single candidate captures a clear majority of the vote.

In the Alaskan contest, the winner was a Democrat, mirroring the result seen in Maine in 2018 when Democrat Jared Golden unseated Republican Bruce Poliquin to become the first congressman elected by the system.

Sarah Palin is pictured speaking at a "Save America" rally before former President Donald Trump in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images © PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images Sarah Palin is pictured speaking at a "Save America" rally before former President Donald Trump in Anchorage, Alaska, on July 9, 2022. PATRICK T. FALLON/AFP via Getty Images

During a recent interview with former Trump chief strategist Steve Bannon on Real America's Voice, Palin criticized the "newfangled, cockamamie" system. She blamed it for thwarting her return to politics—as she urged Alaskan voters not to comply.

"President Trump explained it very well in a rally that he had up here, warning Alaskans that this newfangled experiment with ranked-choice voting will split votes," said the former governor of Alaska. "It will allow liberals to skip on in, which is exactly what's happened thus far."

Describing the voting system as "potentially fraught with fraud," Palin said: "It's so complicated that a lot of people don't even want to participate. So it has a lot of inherent voter suppression in it, and that of course is part of the purpose of why liberals created this system."

In an excerpt from the interview that was shared on social media, Palin said that the system "harms the entire nation, so I think the entire country should be angry at what's going on with this establishment system.

"It was the political establishment that created this system with the ranked-choice voting, and without encouraging the other Republican to drop out once he got bumped three times. Others should be outraged about what's going on because our system is harming the U.S."

In response to the interview, a PoliticusUSA headline, shared on Twitter, read: "Sarah Palin Melts Down and Says America Should Be Angry About Her Crushing Defeat."

"Oooh, yeah, I'm livid," tweeted former singer and actress Sinatra, 82, a vocal critic of Trump, in reaction to the headline.

Comedian Griffin, 61, who also frequently speaks out against Trump and the Republicans who support him, wrote an equally dry tweet, "Same. Apoplectic," in response to Sinatra's comment.

Elsewhere in her interview with Bannon, Palin encouraged her supporters not to cooperate with the newly implemented voting system.

"We need to encourage people not to comply," she said. "This system is not right and people do not like this voting system. So I'm telling my supporters, 'Don't comply.'

"Just look at this race as one man, one vote, like it should be. Winner [takes] all. Just vote for me.

"Don't rank everybody else and get involved in this convoluted system," Palin said, "because that's why we are where we are, where two Republicans split the vote in this jungle primary that we had, and a Democrat got in there.

"So we cannot comply and we need to get back to the basics. Just because an initiative said that this is the way it's gonna be, we don't have to participate in a system that we don't believe in."

Peltola, Palin and Begich are all competing to win a full term in the House in the November 8 general election. They advanced from an August 16 nonpartisan primary, along with Libertarian candidate Chris Bye.

Though Palin has not yet made what many believed would be a political comeback, she could win the seat in November under the ranked-choice voting system.

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