Endorsements can be powerful tools to reinforce or create perceptions. When they make sense. When they don't, it usually backfires on the endorser, like when Newt Gingrich foolishly joined with Nancy Pelosi in an ad campaign to address climate change.
It didn't move a single Republican vote. Conservatives looked at it as a gross betrayal, and it essentially f*cked Newt Gingrich's chances of ever being the Republican nominee for President. Again and again, the poor idiot had to disown his own words.
Newt's a pretty smart guy. Taught college, wrote dozens of books, given hundreds of speeches, masterminded the Republican takeover of Congress, became the first Republican Speaker in half a century. And even he couldn't come up with a good reason for his F-up.
Recently some GOP insiders have been putting the cart before the horse. They have recruited some very interesting first time candidates that they are enthusiastically pushing. They are on an endorsement hunt, except that they have yet to sit down with their candidates to honestly figure out where they stand on the issues that matter to that unwashed conservative mass who constitute the great majority of the party that they lead.
Elected officials who endorse candidates who have no record on the issues are all potential sin-eaters, in that one day soon those candidates will have to take a position and then that position will become your sin. That's why it is so important to get the issues clear -- up front. Remember poor old Newt.
And it will be no picnic for the endorsee either. For a candidate to announce an endorsement in February, take a position opposite the endorser in March, only to have the endorser (under intense and sustained and constant grassroots pressure) publicly state that they oppose the candidate they endorsed on one or many hot button issues, is not a good plan. So then the narrative for April is... "even so-and-so, who endorsed this candidate in February, now thinks his position on X sucks large." And the direct mail, cable, radio and all the rest is about how the prominent elected official who endorsed you has broken with you over the important issue of X. Both endorser and endorsee are left with a sore ass. Watch, because this will happen.
Issues always come first. Issues are the WHY. Get them right and everything else follows. Issues matter.