In another surprise turn in what has been a chaotic primary season, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie has announced that he his endorsing Donald Trump. Christie, who dropped out after coming in 5th place in the New Hampshire primary, said that he would lend his support “between now and November in any way that I can for Donald”, adding that Trump would lead “the Republican party to victory over Hilary Clinton”
For Trump the endorsement comes at the best time imaginable, right after Marco Rubio has dealt him a significant defeat in the last debate. Just when the narrative seemed to turn against him, Trump managed to recapture the spotlight. Apart from helping Trump, the endorsement opens a path for other Republican power brokers to come out as Trump supporters. With the party leadership still vehemently opposed, this could reveal deep rifts within the GOP. Here are the 5 most important take aways from the endorsement:
1, Trump is a true master at playing the media. While he is still miles ahead in most Super Tuesday states, his botched debate performance, where he looked rattled when ganged up on by Rubio and Cruz, had the potential to drag him down and within striking distance. Trump needed a win, and he needed one quickly. Just when everybody began to start the presses on Marcomentum again, he struck in a very big way and put the Trump show back on the air.
2. Christie and Trump are actually quite similar. Beyond the obvious reasons why both men might like each other, their bragging style and loudmouth demeanor, they also share the same non- ideological approach to politics. Both Trump, who has been crossing the party line too many times to count in this campaign alone, and Christie who has won elections in a blue state by playing the role of middle class hero, share a very pragmatic attitude to economic and social issues. Neither man is a true believer when it comes to the Republican party’s core believes regarding entitlement programs and health care.
3. Christie really hates Marco Rubio. While this was likely only part of his rationale for supporting Trump, one has to believe that Christies animosity towards Rubio had to have played at least some part in his decision. The last great moment of his campaign came when he viciously attacked Rubio at the last debate before the New Hampshire primary, prompting the Republican establishment’s favorite man to shut down and mindlessly repeat the same sentence over and over.
4. Christie clearly doesn’t care about the GOP establishment. Either he really wants to get out of politics after 2018, and “make money like Donald Trump” as he said in his endorsement, or he simply doesn’t believe that his political career hinges on GOP support even if Donald Trump ends up losing. The latter would mean that the GOP really is in deep trouble.
5. Christie believes Trump will win. At least he thinks that the odds are better than even. Jumping aboard the Trump train could earn him a top job in the White House, should the Donald go all the way. Some think that he has his eye on the post of Attorney General
Whatever reason Christie had for his move to endorse Trump, he has just changed the race substantially and vastly increased the chances of a candidate who now has to be taken seriously by even the very last skeptics thinking that his demise is just a matter of time.