And so ends the speculation about the “major” endorsement that Donald Trump has been teasing since this weekend, via the New York Times:
Sarah Palin, the former Alaska governor and 2008 vice-presidential nominee who became a Tea Party sensation and a favorite of grass-roots conservatives, will endorse Donald J. Trump in Iowa on Tuesday, officials with his campaign confirmed. The endorsement provides Mr. Trump with a potentially significant boost just 13 days before the state’s caucuses. “I’m proud to endorse Donald J. Trump for president,” Ms. Palin said in a statement provided by his campaign.
Palin is not nearly the political sensation she once was but her endorsement is nonetheless significant, particularly in a GOP race that continues to be shaped by anti-establishment anger. She’s placed similar high-profile bets correctly in the past—including supporting Ted Cruz and Rand Paul in their respective Senate bids—and has a lengthy fundraising list. Her endorsement will also provide Trump with a ready-made shield in the face of the Republican-In-Name-Only criticism that Cruz is currently lobbing his way, and could give him a boost in Iowa, where Trump and Cruz are battling it out for victory in the first nominating contest of 2016.
More importantly, though, Palin’s endorsement all but ensures Trump will continue to dominate the national conversation over the next few days by denying Cruz and his more establishment-friendly rivals the media spotlight when they need it most.
Read more of Slate’s coverage of the GOP primary.
This post was updated with additional analysis since it was first published.