In an unpredictable turn, New Jersey Governor Chris Christie endorsed Donald Trump for President:
Apparently the move wasn’t anticipated by too many in Christie’s circle:
He started making some of those close to him aware of his plans Friday morning. Others didn’t know that the endorsement was coming at all.
“I am shocked,” Ray Washburne, the governor’s former presidential campaign finance director, said right after Christie endorsed Trump.
Republicans in Christie’s orbit were shocked by the news. The knee-jerk read by others was that this endorsement was really about Hillary Clinton.
“Gov. Christie is looking at the political playing field and understanding that this is the one person who it looks like can beat Hillary Clinton,” a former adviser on Christie’s campaign said. “This is the likely nominee. This is someone who has demonstrated that he knows how to lead and that’s why Gov. Christie is getting behind him. I’m just going to leave it at that.”
This endorsement is about Hillary Clinton? The last person she wants to see in November is Donald Trump? According to virtually every head-to-head poll between Clinton and Trump, Clinton comes out on top (1, 2, 3), as opposed to when she’s paired against Cruz or, especially, Rubio. The one person Clinton absolutely wants to see in November is Trump, because he’s the candidate she’s most likely to beat, even if it’s not by much.
This isn’t about Hillary Clinton. This is Chris Christie reading the political landscape and realizing that the tough-talking wingnut is soaring in the polls of states voting in Super Tuesday (see Alabama, Georgia, Massachusetts, Oklahoma, Virginia, et al), and that his own bullying tactics are far more in line with Trump than they are the well-rehearsed talking point-puppet Rubio. Maybe he saw how Trump was killing it in his state of governance, New Jersey, and figured it was about time to bend to the insane political winds.
No, this is more about Chris Christie going all in with the rightwing proletariat, throwing up both middle fingers to the GOP establishment. Right when they need every one of its rank and file to line up behind Rubio, Christie comes in and lays down a big “Fuck you” to the party. Why shouldn’t he? His national polling was single-digit his entire run in his bid to be the establishment favorite, even after he embarrassed Rubio during the debate. He might have sacrificed any chance he has to advance his career as an establishment guy, but he wasn’t doing too well on that front to begin with. This is a guy betting that the anger the populist right harbors isn’t going to dissipate regardless of whether Trump wins or loses the nomination or the general election. And if Trump somehow does manage to eke out a victory in November, then Christie will be first in line for a cabinet position, assuming he doesn’t get the VP slot.
Nice curveball, Chris. Now let’s wait for nutty Ted Cruz to drop out and back Trump, giving him the vampire vote.