Research News

After rough debate, Trump gets a boost from Christie backing

The endorsement by Chris Christie (left) of Donald Trump (right) for the GOP nomination for president adds legitimacy to the Trump campaign, according to UB political scientist James Campbell.

By RACHEL STERN

Published March 1, 2016

“I suspect that Gov. Christie’s endorsement of Trump is payback to those in the Republican establishment who did not support his candidacy this year.”
James Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor
Department of Political Science

Donald Trump has a way of staying in the spotlight and, after what many said was a rough debate last Thursday, rebounded with an attention-grabbing endorsement the following, according to UB political scientist says James Campbell.

Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey, who was a candidate for president himself until he dropped out after the New Hampshire’s primary, endorsed Trump last Friday. This adds legitimacy or seriousness to the Trump campaign, says Campbell, UB Distinguished Professor of Political Science.

“Many Republicans are convinced that Donald Trump would be a disaster as the Republican Party’s presidential nominee and would inevitably lead to a Democratic presidential victory in November,” Campbell says. “Christie’s endorsement places another obstacle in front of pragmatic conservatives who seek to avert what they anticipate is a looming disaster.”

Christie’s endorsement may reinforce a feeling that Trump’s nomination is inevitable, and may lead others to jump on the bandwagon, Campbell says.

“This was good news for Trump,” he says. “After an unsettling debate performance, the Trump campaign needed some good news going into Super Tuesday and Christie provided some.”

During that debate Sen. Marco Rubio sparred with Trump, and many observers said he delivered the strong performance that Republican leaders were waiting for. But Trump supporters hope the Christie endorsement dampens the momentum for the conservative wing of the party, Campbell says.

“Many conservatives undoubtedly recall Gov. Christie’s embracing of President Obama in the last days of the 2012 campaign, again at the expense of the broader interests of this party,” he says. “I suspect that Gov. Christie’s endorsement of Trump is payback to those in the Republican establishment who did not support his candidacy this year. He is the governor linked to ‘bridgegate’ after all.”

READER COMMENT

Donald Trump has garnered wide support for his straight, non-politically correct campaigning. This goes far beyond Chris Christie, who courageously bucked the establishment camp.

 

Your disparagement of Christie and Trump is just another reflection of the liberal PC establishment.

 

Michael Ram