Endorsements by newspapers and politicians used to be a fairly big deal, I think. These days, not so much.
Even in New Hampshire, where Republican presidential candidates covet the endorsement of the Union Leader, its value is limited. Only three of the last seven candidates endorsed by the Union Leader in contested primaries — Ronald Reagan in 1980, Pat Buchanan in 1996, and John McCain in 2008 — went on to win the first-in-the-nation primary. Other endorsees were Pierre “Pete” Du Pont, Pat Buchanan (in the 1992 contest), Steve Forbes, and Newt Gingrich.
To be sure, the Union Leader’s endorsement usually boosts a candidate (though not in 2008). However, failing to obtain that paper’s blessing can hardly be viewed as much of a setback. And even if it were, the proper response of a candidate to this or any other such “snub” is a shrug of the shoulders, if that.
But Donald Trump isn’t the shoulder shrugging kind. He’s all about winning. Thus, in a sneak preview of what a Trump presidency would look like, he is lashing out. And not just against the Union Leader (which endorsed Chris Christie) but also at South Carolina Rep. Trey Gowdy who had audacity to endorse Marco Rubio.
In New Hampshire, Trump has called Union Leader publisher Joe McQuaid a “lowlife” and “just a bad guy.” McQuaid says Trump’s attack is merely a product of the paper’s position on his candidacy:
He says our newspaper is failing and I am ‘absolutely terrible,’ yet six months ago, in June, he said we were all ‘terrific,’
According to the Union Leader, Trump said in June that “The Union Leader, by the way, they’ve been so fair to me, and they are terrific, and Mr. McQuaid is a fantastic man.”
Meanwhile, in South Carolina, Trey Gowdy is experiencing the wrath of Donald. Almost immediately after Gowdy endorsed Rubio, Trump tweeted:
Face it, Trey Gowdy failed miserably on Benghazi. He allowed it to drag out and in the end, let Hillary get away with murder.
He added, “My prediction on the Trey Gowdy endorsement of Rubio is that it will do nothing for Rubio and finish Gowdy.”
In late July, however, Trump tweeted that Gowdy would be his pick for Attorney General. To be sure, this tweet predated the Benghazi hearings. But what would it say about Trump’s judgment if the man he tabbed for Attorney General turned out a few months later to be a miserable failure in such an important event as the Benghazi hearings?
And what would it say about the Republican Party if it were to nominate a thin-skinned, vindictive, inconstant jerk for president? A President Trump would make Richard Nixon seem easygoing, lighthearted, and non-threatening.