Why Did Ted Cruz Endorse Donald Trump?
5. Mike Pence.
One more key event happened in the past week that might have gotten Cruz to reconsider his anti-Trump position. In the past few days, the Texas senator reportedly met with Indiana Governor Mike Pence, who briefly endorsed him in the primary before his state favored Donald Trump. Pence is well-known as a stalwart conservative, despite his public surrender on religious freedom last year.
Pence is likely to understand Cruz well, and to have presented arguments — and likely incentives — for Cruz to reconsider his opposition to Trump. It is even possible that Pence carried an apology from the Republican nominee to his former rival. Many angry Cruz supporters would doubtless like to see this apology if it existed, but Trump's pride likely kept him from allowing it to be made public.
These five reasons explain what could have driven the Texas senator to make this stunning reversal, but it is unlikely any conservative who was moved by Cruz's declaration to "vote your conscience" at the RNC will accept this endorsement lightly. Many will consider this conservative stalwart a sell-out for his decision, and they have some reason to do so.
For this reason, it seems likely to me that Cruz was offered something from the Trump camp: be it an apology, a potential Supreme Court pick (himself or Mike Lee), an offer to drop the potential primary challenge in 2018, or even the public support for ICANN. The term "bribe" might be an exaggeration, since Cruz was likely to end up supporting Trump anyway, as former House Speaker Newt Gingrich and Iowa Representative Steve King prophesied at the RNC.
Whether or not conservatives accept Cruz's late endorsement, these reasons should explain why he did what he did. Unfortunately for John Kasich, the Texas senator's mention of "keeping his word" on the pledge raises questions about the Ohio governor's responsibilities. Or perhaps opposition to Trump will be left to Kasich alone — now wouldn't that be ironic.