This is the significance of Sarah Palin: She is the Authority for the far right wingnuttia. Several things are necessary for success when dealing with authoritarians. They include a person to act as figurehead, who might or might not be the actual authority. A code of conduct is necessary, which will consist of characteristics that the authority wants the group to have. Those characteristics will provide an identity for the group's followers and a means of identifying other members of the group. To identify members one must identify non-members. The group must be superior to the non-group for everyone wants to feel good about themselves, and one way authoritarian leaders ensure obedience is by demonizing the Other, declaring them to be evil and dangerous. Rejecting the authority's code of conduct and beliefs means risking expulsion from the group, which would mean the follower would no longer have an identity, group, or moral superiority.
I think that if Palin seems to be a winner, most of the authoritarian right will back her, because associating themselves with winners to feel good about themselves is a major factor in their make-up. Almost everything else is secondary. But they don't pick the candidates, the authoritarian leaders do, and we need to determine their goals to determine their future actions. They have stolen as much as they can, so the next big push will probably be the elimination of their expenses. The goal of the tea-party right is to eliminate taxes and benefits, as described by Freedomworks, led by Dick Armey and funded by the Koch family. "Dedicated to Social Security reform, repeal of the Death Tax, tax cuts in general, and limiting the size and scope of government," their website says. The next president will be the candidate who promises to end taxes for the rich, and that might actually be Sarah Palin.