How Sarah Palin Mastered Politics

The frontier mom and former beauty queen shrewdly fought her way upstream in Alaska's rough political waters

Christopher Morris / VII for TIME

They called themselves the elite six — and the name was meant to be ironic. This was Wasilla, Alaska, 30 miles (about 50 km) north of Anchorage, in the early 1990s — when the sagging economy meant, as a local recalls, "everyone had dust on their ass." There was nothing élite about this little town on the stretch of highway along the railroad. And there was nothing élite about the group either — six stay-at-home moms who sought one another out to escape the house and get some exercise in the long northern winter. They would do their step...

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