by Gary L. Bauer
Former Alaska Governor Sarah Palin endorsed Donald Trump on Tuesday in Iowa, leaving a lot of conservative leaders scratching their heads. The race in Iowa is neck-and-neck, and many grassroots conservatives are trying to decide between Trump and Ted Cruz.
Both Palin and Cruz are closely identified with the Tea Party movement. Palin has a long relationship with Cruz, who is much closer to her on values issues than Trump. Nevertheless, Cruz was magnanimous about the endorsement, saying that he and Palin will always be great friends.
Iowa Governor Terry Branstad also weighed in yesterday with an outrageous “Anybody but Cruz” endorsement. The governor, citing the senator’s support from the oil and natural gas industry, said that he wanted to see Cruz defeated in Iowa.
Well, of course, Ted Cruz has support from oil and natural gas companies. He’s from Texas! He has a conservative energy policy. I think Branstad’s action has nothing to do with energy companies and everything to do the party establishment trying to stop a movement conservative.
The race is extremely close in Iowa, and it remains to be seen whether these developments will swing voters one way or the other.
One place where the race no longer seems close is the Democrat primary in New Hampshire. A WMUR/CNN released late yesterday finds Bernie Sanders surging to a whopping 27-point lead over Hillary Clinton. The race has swung 17 points in the past month, giving Sanders a 60 percent to 33 percent lead.
Gary L. Bauer served in President Ronald Reagan’s administration for eight years, as Under Secretary of Education and as President Reagan’s Chief Domestic Policy Advisor.