Why Did Ted Cruz Endorse Donald Trump?

On Friday, Texas Senator Ted Cruz swallowed his pride and made his public declaration of support for Republican nominee Donald Trump. The endorsement surprised — and even angered — a host of conservatives who had looked to Cruz as the standard-bearer of the #NeverTrump movement, a man who had publicly refused to endorse the nominee at the Republican National Convention, declaring instead: "Vote your conscience!"

Now, that hero for anti-Trump conservatives has seemingly reversed himself. Prominent pundits like Ben Howe and Erick Erickson have attacked him for it.

So why did Cruz do it? His Facebook post gave two primary reasons: "First, last year, I promised to support the Republican nominee. And I intend to keep my word. Second, even though I have had areas of significant disagreement with our nominee, by any measure Hillary Clinton is wholly unacceptable — and that's why I have always been #NeverHillary." Naturally, Cruz could have opposed Hillary in May (when he dropped out) or July (at the RNC) by publicly endorsing Trump, if this is his full reasoning. There must be something else going on.

Cruz went on to list six reasons why he could not stomach a Hillary Clinton presidency, but recent moves on behalf of the Trump campaign suggest a better explanation for his sudden reversal — one not entirely removed from the reasons he opposes Hillary.

1. The Supreme Court.

The first key policy difference between Clinton and Trump that Cruz mentioned was the Supreme Court. Clinton would appoint "a left-wing ideologue," while Trump has promised to appoint justices "in the mold of Scalia.

But Trump made a public announcement — merely an hour before Cruz endorsed him on Friday — that he would be adding names to his Supreme Court list. One of those names, Utah Senator Mike Lee, is among Cruz's closest friends and allies in Congress. The move also suggests that the Texas senator himself might be considered for the nation's highest court. If so, this would be a huge incentive for Cruz to make such a public reversal. (Incidentally, both Cruz and Lee ranked among the few names some conservatives hoped to see on Trump's original list, but were left off.)

Next Page: Internet freedom and Trump's rising poll numbers.