For the vast majority of the campaign season Donald Trump has been the leader of the Republican pack – and it hasn’t even been close. Aside from a few weeks where he was tied with Ben Carson (that was until people realized how unfit Carson was to be president), no one has really come close to challenging Trump’s dominance.
Since Carson’s quick tumble from the top of the leaderboard, only one man has even remotely challenged Trump’s place among the GOP presidential leaders: Ted Cruz. In fact, Cruz actually leads in most polls in Iowa right now, though he still trails “The Donald” by quite a bit nationally.
Still, with an ego the size of Trump’s, he hasn’t taken kindly to Cruz being ahead of him in Iowa. This prompted the real estate mogul to go full-on “birther” on Cruz, attacks which have become increasingly personal as Trump recently gave an interview where he called Cruz “nasty” and said nobody likes him. (Ironically, those statements are actually fairly accurate.)
That being said, Cruz’s lead over Trump in Iowa seemed to be holding steady.
Well, that might soon change as Cruz has just had one of the worst days of his entire campaign.
It started off with the Governor of Iowa, Terry Branstad, giving a press conference where he urged Iowa voters to not support Cruz over his ties to big oil and opposition to ethanol subsidies. Being that Iowa is a big-time producer of corn, ethanol subsidies are a pretty big deal to many Iowans. Branstad’s comments were rather unexpected and are seen by quite a few experts as extremely damaging for Cruz’s hopes of winning Iowa.
But then came the news that Trump had a “big endorsement” to announce, which most news agencies confirmed throughout the day was Sarah Palin.
Now, while Palin is despised by most liberals – and her “star” has fallen very far from where it once was just a couple of years ago – she’s still fairly influential with evangelicals and tea party Republicans. These are key voters Trump needs in his corner if he wants to win Iowa. Not only that, but Palin has been a rather big fan of Cruz over the last several years. Heck, I’ve referred to her as the “female Ted Cruz” several times. So her choosing to endorse Trump is a fairly big deal in far-right conservative circles. Coming off Trump’s comments about nobody liking Cruz, Palin’s endorsement only seems to give credibility to the billionaire’s statement.
While I’m sure Ted Cruz will spin this like he does most everything else, there’s no denying that today was an extremely bad day for his campaign. He’s been hedging his chances on winning Iowa and hoping that momentum will make him an even bigger threat to Trump nationally. But with Governor Branstad’s harsh words and Palin’s endorsement (in Iowa of all places), the Cruz campaign shouldn’t be feeling quite as upbeat as they were even 24 hours ago.
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