Really, in the end this was a no-brainer for Mike Pence. The Indiana Governor’s announcement today that he’s endorsing Ted Cruz makes perfect sense on so many different levels.
First of all, Pence and Cruz are both solid constitutional conservatives. Do they have a few differences? Sure, but those are on the margins. Pence’s views line up nicely with how Cruz sees the world. As two born-again evangelicals, they see the world through a biblical prism. Their worldviews are identical in nature.
Secondly, if Pence is looking at a future presidential run, he can’t afford to tick off the conservative grassroots of the Republican Party. A Trump endorsement would taint him in the future and potentially kill any chance of a future presidential run.
Finally, let me just say this. Pence did the right thing and I’m not talking about the fact that he chose to endorse Ted Cruz. I’m referring to the fact that he actually chose to endorse a candidate. There was speculation for a time that he would sit on the sidelines and be an honest broker. Honestly, that would have been the easy way out. Instead, he boldly took a stand for a candidate that technically can’t win the nomination on the first ballot. Normally people go with “winners’ or cast their lot with people they think will most likely win. Pence didn’t do that and you have to give him credit for that. He knew that if he stayed neutral, that would essentially be a passive aggressive deathblow to Cruz in Indiana. He knew he had clout and influence to try and make a difference and indeed he did so.
So will the Pence endorsement matter? Well, it sure will give Cruz a little positive mojo and a nice feather in his cap. I also think the endorsement helps him to a degree with fence-sitting evangelicals because even though they may have some doubts about “Cruz the messenger,” an endorsement with the popular Pence (at least relatively popular with evangelicals) will probably get them to a more comfortable place. Will it be the move that puts Cruz over the top? That’s highly debatable. We’ll have to watch the polls. The bottom line: Indiana is going to be a nail biter and the Pence endorsement just made Indiana that much more interesting.