Ted Cruz selecting Carly Fiorina as his running mate should he win the nomination is being scrutinized, praised, and has even been called an act of desperation. The early date of this selection has also been questioned. Ultimately after looking at qualifications of whoever was on his short list it boils down to this.
Carly Fiorina being on the ticket helps Ted Cruz.
That’s not to say others wouldn’t, but ultimately, and this is something that drives purists nuts, the decision is a pragmatic one.
Fiorina helps Cruz in several ways.
Selecting Fiorina gives the media something else to talk about.
After the Northeastern Primaries, Cruz needed to disrupt the news cycle. The best way to eclipse bad news is with different news that you control. That’s not to say this was a knee jerk decision, but this news coming out takes the focus off of Donald Trump’s sweep in Pennsylvania, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Delaware and Maryland.
I’m pretty confident the campaign planned to make their announcement prior to the Indiana Primary and selecting Fiorina was a strategic, not impulsive decision, but the timing of the announcement certainly doesn’t hurt him. This is something Donald Trump should understand since he has been particularly masterful at it – you make your own news.
Fiorina balances Cruz out.
Every VEEP pick is intended to bring some balance to the ticket. Fiorina being Cruz’s running mate does this in several ways. First the obvious – she’s a woman, more on this later, but this is no small thing. She, for the most part, ran in the establishment lane. Cruz will need those voters in the remaining primaries, but also in the general election. I know some are concerned about ideology. Fiorina didn’t make my short list for President either even though I thought she made a compelling running mate. Let’s consider some previous Republican presidential and vice presidential nominees.
- Ronald Reagan and George H.W. Bush were not ideological soul mates.
- George H.W. Bush and Dan Qualye – not exactly bosom buddies on the issues.
- George W. Bush and Dick Cheney – Cheney was selected, not for his position on social issues, but his experience in national security and defense.
- John McCain and Sarah Palin – night and day.
- Mitt Romney and Paul Ryan – While we have our issues with Ryan he was definitely the more conservative of the two.
Anyway, my point is that finding your ideological soulmate is not the ultimate goal. In terms of finding an establishment lane candidate, Fiorina will be far more helpful than say Marco Rubio at this point, and she is far more conservative than John Kasich.
Fiorina’s business experience can help with Cruz’s economic message. Her international connections will be helpful with foreign policy. Geographically the fact she has lived on both coasts in California, and now Virginia doesn’t hurt.
Fiorina being a woman only helps.
In the general election against Hillary Clinton having Fiorina on the ticket will help downplay (as Donald Trump *so eloquently* put it) “the woman card.” It will still be played because for liberals because Fiorina is not “their type” of woman, but it will still help. In the remaining primaries, Fiorina can help Cruz with a demographic that has been difficult for Donald Trump – women.
California here we come.
Whether Donald Trump secures the 1237 delegates he needs to win on the first ballot of the Republican National Committee or we have a contested convention will ultimately boil down to Indiana and California. Fiorina can be extremely helpful in California, she knows the politics, she knows the players and California Republicans have already selected her in the past when she ran for U.S. Senate.
Fiorina is disciplined.
Fiorina is a polished communicator. She is well versed on the issues, and most importantly, she is disciplined. Cruz will not have to worry about Fiorina being a liability.
Fiorina is a fighter.
We may not get to see a Clinton-Fiorina debate, but she would be excellent in the Vice Presidential debate. Also, she can be very effective going after Hillary Clinton. Being an attack dog is an important part of being the Vice Presidential nominee.
Pick your running mate or your running mate will be selected for you.
Looking ahead at a contested convention it’s important to note that the convention will select the Vice Presidential nominee as well. I believe it would be difficult for the convention to bypass Fiorina, and it takes a Cruz-Kasich ticket as some sort of deal off the table.
Obviously all of this will be rendered moot if Trump secures the nomination before the convention, but selecting a nominee now and having Fiorina as that choice doesn’t hurt him and only helps.