AMES, IOWA — Former vice presidential candidate and Tea Party firebrand Sarah Palin has endorsed Republican presidential candidate and businessman Donald Trump ahead of the Iowa caucus to be held on February 1.
The endorsement comes at a crucial time for Trump and could help shore up his credentials among the Republican Party's anti-establishment wing.
It's easy to dismiss this endorsement as one GOP crazy backing another. To the casual observer, Trump and Palin share an affinity for the type of populist, anti-intellectual rhetoric that makes it seem as though they have minds run by hamster wheels.
But Palin in fact leads a Tea Party faithful that can be instrumental in helping insurgent candidates win primaries.
In 2012, she endorsed Ted Cruz over the GOP's establishment candidate, then lieutenant governor David Dewhurst. Cruz defeated Dewhurst by a 14-point margin in the primary and went on to win his Senate seat. That's why Palin's endorsement of Trump stings for Cruz.
Palin's endorsement can also help mute a line of attack from Cruz and other Republicans that Trump isn't a real conservative. The businessman in the past has supported Hillary Clinton and democratic positions. Backing from the Tea Party firebrand helps puts lipstick on this Republican In Name Only.
Will Palin's endorsement give Trump the edge he needs in Iowa?