Another week, another Dancing With the Stars controversy: Despite a "dismal" samba this week, plus a history of "underwhelming performances" and low scores from the judges, Bristol Palin has advanced to the show's semi-finals on the strength of viewers' votes, which ultimately decide the contestants' fates. Have Sarah Palin's supporters mobilized to make sure Bristol keeps dancing, or are fans connecting with the young mother in a more bipartisan way? (Click here for an update to this story: "Should Bristol Palin have been kicked off 'Dancing with the Stars?'")
This is Sarah Palin's influence at work: "You betcha" that politics are fueling Bristol Palin's implausible momentum, says Marisa Guthrie in The Hollywood Reporter. "DWTS" is one of the most popular shows among Republicans and "Palin's supporters have used social media to get out that vote."
"Why Bristol Palin is still on Dancing With the Stars"
But who knows how much they've helped her: "Is 'Operation Bristol' a vast right-wing conspiracy?" asks the staff at The Daily Beast. "Left-leaning supporters might think so," especially after popular conservative activist Tammy Bruce tweeted her support of Bristol this past Monday, urging Sarah Palin loyalists to support Bristol's footwork. Still, who knows how much "the campaign to mobilize conservative forces" is contributing to Bristol's success?
"The GOP plot to help Bristol Palin"
Let's not overthink this: While it's entertaining to think that "a bunch of tax-hating, Rush Limbaugh–listening conservatives would actually go to the trouble of gaming the ["DWTS"] system," says Mary Elizabeth Williams at Salon, Bristol herself clearly has no agenda "beyond not falling on her face." A more likely theory: "More than anyone else on the show right now ... the awkward, flawed, but eminently cheerful Bristol Palin represents something sunny and authentic with every obviously effort-filled step."
"The (Bristol) Palin election-fraud scandal"