Make no mistake about it, establishment Republicans like Jeb Bush are cleaning up when it comes to significant endorsements. Bush has picked up about 15 representatives in the House and five or six senators. Rubio is faring similarly. Chris Christie has picked up a couple of endorsements from Republican governors. Donald Trump, though dominating in the polls, has yet to pick up a single endorsement from other elected Republicans.
That said, Trump is doing quite well when it comes to endorsements from major conservative voices outside politics. The first big endorsement, of course, came from former Alaska governor Sarah Palin. But now Trump has a couple of figures who carry nearly as much weight in their own specific circles. First on the list, Sheriff Joe Arpaio from Maricopa County, Arizona.
Arpaio said Tuesday that he stood by Trump due to his firm stance on illegal immigration: “Donald Trump is a leader. He produces results and is ready to get tough in order to protect American jobs and families. I have fought on the front lines to prevent illegal immigration. I know Donald Trump will stand with me and countless Americans to secure our border. I am proud to support him as the best candidate for President of the United States of America.”
If longevity speaks to anything, Arpaio has impressed the citizens of Maricopa County. He’s been sheriff there since 1993, and his hardline position on both prisoners and illegal immigration have won him fans far outside his own district. Arpaio is also a frequent critic of the Obama administration, and that automatically endears him to anyone who knows the truth about this president.
The second high-profile endorsement came not from the law enforcement sector but from the religious community. Evangelical pastor Jerry Falwell, Jr. threw his support behind Trump on Tuesday, calling him “a successful executive and entrepreneur, a wonderful father and a man who I believe can lead our country to greatness again.”
Falwell, the son of the legendary televangelist and founder of Liberty University Jerry Falwell, Sr., could provide just the boost Trump needs to overcome his deficit among evangelical voters in Iowa. If he’s able to do that, and the most recent polls are correct, Trump could pull out victories in both Iowa and New Hampshire. His polling in the states to follow would indicate that, barring something unexpected, he would have the Republican nomination sewn up.
These endorsements, though they may not impress the political elite, could be just the nudge Trump needs to make history.