The Fix's Chris Cillizza explains why Gov. Mike Pence (R-Ind.) was the best vice presidential pick of the candidates Donald Trump was considering. (Peter Stevenson/The Washington Post)

Donald Trump (finally) made it official Friday morning: Mike Pence will be his vice presidential running mate.

The obvious winner was Pence. There are, however, some less obvious winners and losers in this whole thing too. I go through them all below.

Winners

* Mike Pence: In the space of 24 hours, Pence went from a more-difficult-than-it-should-be gubernatorial re-election race to the national ticket. Yes, he will be sharing that ticket with the least popular and least predictable Republican nominee in modern history. But, worst case scenario, Pence will leave 2016 with "vice presidential nominee" on his resume.  And, assuming he acquits himself decently over the next few months, he will be a potential first-tier candidate come 2020. And, best case scenario, Pence is the vice president of the United States. Win-win.

* Paul Manafort: Trump's chief strategist was the loudest voice behind the scenes for Pence. The Indiana governor fit Manafort's desire to use the pick as a bit of outreach to a party establishment still very skeptical about uniting behind Trump.  Since being brought into the campaign in the spring, Manafort has not only won a series of internal skirmishes but also proven he has The Donald's ear. That's a very rare trait -- and a valuable one.

* Paul Ryan/Mitch McConnell: Out of Trump's final three, Pence was clearly the preferred candidate of the two Republican congressional leaders. In Pence, Ryan and McConnell have a known and trusted commodity. They also have someone they can go to when their concerns about what Trump is saying or doing grow too large for them to stay silent. And, in theory, they now have a conduit directly to Trump. Whether or not Trump will listen to Pence's advice, of course, is an open debate.

* Newt Gingrich: No, Gingrich didn't get picked to be Trump's VP. But, ask yourself this: Three months ago, did you think Newt would even be in the conversation for VP in 2016? NO CHANCE.  Gingrich has a way of just turning up in the national political conversation -- and he did it again over the past few months. Sure, Newt would rather have been the vice-presidential pick but he's now elevated himself into a likely Trump Cabinet position if Trump wins or voice for the "new" Republican party no matter what happens this fall. Gingrich's political life has taken any number of unpredictable terms; this is the latest one.

* Roll Call: The Fix's newspaper alma mater broke this Pence news on Thursday morning. (Patricia Murphy, a columnist for Roll Call, was the one who broke it.) For a publication badly in need of some buzz, breaking the Pence news is a big deal.

* Twitter: Cut through all of the "who is he picking/when is he picking" stuff and you get this: Trump announced his VP pick via Twitter.

It's yet more evidence that news-makers are increasingly in charge of how they choose to make their news public. And how Twitter is almost always the default option to do that.

* Every ambitious Indiana Republican not named Mike Pence: A month ago, it looked like all of the chances for advancement up the ranks in the Hoosier State had been closed off. Pence was running for a second term and Rep. Todd Young had won the Republican primary to replace retiring Sen. Dan Coats.  Ambitious GOP pols had to circle 2018 when Sen. Joe Donnelly (D) is up for reelection as their next big chance. No more! Pence leaving means an open governor's nomination -- and lots of Republicans are making sure they are in the mix.

Losers

* Chris Christie: There's just no way to spin this one. Christie sacrificed his political career -- his early endorsement of Trump was widely mocked by the party establishment -- in the hopes that his show of early loyalty would be rewarded with the VP nod. It wasn't.

He's now become a punchline for the ages -- with absolutely nothing to show for it. (Yes, Christie could wind up as Attorney General in a Trump Administration. But, that's not the same as VP. Not close.)

It's been a remarkable -- and remarkably bad -- last four years for Christie. He passed on a late entry into the 2012 Republican presidential race where he would have been a co-front-runner, weathered an in-state bridge scandal, ran unsuccessfully for president and, now, finished as a bridesmaid in the veepstakes.

* Chris Christie: Yes, it was that bad.

* Endorsements: They just don't matter at all. Christie endorsed Trump early on. Pence endorsed directly against Trump -- he backed Ted Cruz -- in the run-up to the May 3 Indiana primary. (Trump won that primary going away.) Trump picked Pence.  Proving, yet again, that endorsements are not only overrated in terms of their ability to sway voters but also when it comes to how much good will they earn you with the endorsee.  Politicians make decisions based on what is good for them at that moment. Period.

* My weekend: I was really looking forward to a quiet Saturday before heading to Cleveland on Sunday. (Relatedly, hello Cleveland!) Now Trump will formally unveil Pence at 11 am on Saturday. Come on, man. What are we even doing out here?

 

 

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