Ted Cruz might have just been TRUMPED©…
Earlier today the Trump campaign kept hinting that a major “GOP icon” would be announcing their endorsement for him later today. Many journalists immediately guessed it would be former Alaskan Governor Sarah Palin. Donald Trump, forever the showman, remained mum for the majority of the day. So we waited…
Then a few hours later The New York Times confirmed that Sarah Palin was in fact the endorsement the Trump campaign had gotten. Which at first while surprising – because Ted Cruz is still a huge factor in the race, more on that in a moment – became less so when you started to think about the two candidates.
Side-by-side both Trump and Palin are cut from the same political cloth. While both showmen in their own right, both politicians invoke a similar political persona to the public; conservative – yet not TOO conservative – political outsiders that have strong followings among many conservative voters. In that case, Palin’s endorsement of the Trump campaign makes perfect sense. Though where it becomes surprising is the fact that Ted Cruz is still a major player in the Republican primaries and currently is Trump’s biggest rival.
For those that don’t know, back in 2012 when Cruz was challenging for a vacant Texas Senate seat, he was facing off against the GOP’s Establishment pick Lt. Gov. David Dewhurst in the Republican primaries. Many had assumed Dewhurst was a lock for the senate seat considering he had Establishment’s backing and a bigger war chest than Cruz. However a few key endorsements helped Cruz execute one of the biggest upsets in the 2012 elections! One of those key endorsements was from Sarah Palin herself.
In general, Palin has had a very mixed endorsement record since she came onto the national spotlight in 2008 as John McCain’s running-mate. Cruz’s win in Texas helped both Palin (showing many that her endorsements can mobilize those in the conservative base) and Cruz (proving that “outsider candidates” could beat those from the GOP Establishment). So it was surprising to hear that Palin would not be backing Cruz in the 2016 primaries, even after their shared political history together.
Yet the bigger question remains, how will Palin’s endorsement affect Trump’s chances in the GOP primaries?
For a while now, many in the media – including us – have criticized Donald Trump’s chances of winning the Republican primaries due to his campaign missing a critical element that is essential for a successful primary run, the political endorsement. If you have lived through (and covered) multiple presidential elections, political endorsements show how far a particular candidate’s base goes. Add that analysis to the polling results of each state and you get a general idea of how well a campaign is doing. Up until now, Trump has had only a handful of political endorsements. Even though he had strong leads in most national polls, the lack of political endorsements made that data unreliable. With Plain’s endorsement, that picture still remains muddy.
Even though the Trump campaign hopes that an endorsement from Palin will bring in more Evangelical voters to his campaign, as seen in this tweet:
“Palin’s brand among evangelicals is as gold as the faucets in Trump tower,” said Ralph Reed, the chairman of the Faith & Freedom Coalition.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) January 19, 2016
It’s still hard to predict what kind of effect Palin’s endorsement will have on the Trump campaign. After all, Sarah Palin (much like Trump) is a very divisive figure, even within the Republican Party. While a Palin endorsement bring a handful of diehard supporter, it also brings the baggage of a 2008 presidential loss with it.
Still, if Trump was looking for a stronger foothold into the social conservative/Tea Party base, he could do worse than an endorsement from Sarah Palin.
(Photo Credit: Google Images, Twitter)