Dave Ramsey mentioned yesterday the curious timing of GOP frontrunner Donald Trump’s announcement of a rally in Little Rock this coming Wednesday, which oddly coincided with Mike Huckabee’s appearance at Trump’s anti-debate event. Could it be … is it possible that … an endorsement is in the works, after Huckabee inevitably bows out of the race post-Iowa?
Dave isn’t the only one who noted the timing. Hot Air, the conservative blog founded by Michelle Malkin, muses on the fact that Trump scheduled his Little Rock visit right around the time Huckabee was attending his rally for veterans. Here’s the argument:
Probably no one in the field has attacked Trump’s main rival, Ted Cruz, more doggedly over the last few weeks than Huckabee. Rubio’s hit him hard too, but Rubio and Cruz are battling to be the anti-Trump and there are lines even Rubio won’t cross in hitting Cruz, like his “natural-born” eligibility. Huckabee’s attacking Cruz for the sheer spiteful joy of wrecking the guy whom the evangelical establishment chose over him, and he has backed Trump up on Cruz’s eligibility by saying it’s a legitimate issue. Why, ol’ Huck even plugged Trump’s line of ties at the debate in October. Hmmm.
We’ve all been interpreting Huck’s endless shots at Cruz as a product of bitterness, but maybe they’re more strategic than that. Until recently I assumed that Huckabee would endorse Rubio once he dropped out, partly as thanks for Rubio endorsing Huckabee in 2008 and partly because Rubio has traditionally been seen as the biggest threat to Cruz. Lately, though, respect for Trump’s chances at winning the nomination has risen; he leads Rubio in prediction markets, meaning that if you were all about stopping Cruz, Trump’s arguably your best bet at this point. Trump’s favor is probably also worth more to Huckabee than Rubio’s is, just as Huckabee’s favor is worth more to Trump than it is to Rubio. If Huck endorses Rubio, he gets some warm words and maybe a couple of rallies with the candidate if Rubio goes on to win the nomination. But Rubio doesn’t need Huck; he’s got plenty of socially conservative cred in his own right. Trump, glaringly, does not, and he may need some if he intends to turn out southern Christians in the same numbers that other Republican nominees have. And even if Trump flames out of the race, he’s likely to reward Huckabee with some valuable interviews if/when Huck gets back into media.
Hot Air then goes the extra mile with some especially creative speculation about Huck gunning for veep in a future Trump administration. Hell, why not?