Politics Playbook: Explaining why Sen. Ted Cruz chose Ms. Carly Fiorina for his running mate


Madina Jenks

In the presidential primaries, the candidates have woven a web of alliances and rivalries between each other.

Garnering publicity, attempting to siphon away votes and courting female voters, Sen. Ted Cruz, Republican presidential candidate, has announced that he has chosen Ms. Carly Fiorina, businesswoman and former Republican presidential candidate, as his running mate.

Various experts speculated that this announcement–in conjunction with his nonaggression pact with Gov. John Kasich, Republican presidential candidate–was Sen. Cruz’s last-ditch attempt at drawing away enough votes from Mr. Donald Trump, Republican presidential frontrunner, for a contested convention to occur. “Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas, desperate to alter the course of a presidential primary fight in which Donald J. Trump is closing in on victory, announced Wednesday that Carly Fiona would be his running mate if he won the Republican nomination,” Mr. Jonathan Martin, Mr. Matt Flegenheimer and Mr. Alexander Burns, political analysts, stated.

This idea is further supported by Ms. Yamichie Alcindor, political analyst, who said that “Mr. Cruz named a running mate, Carly Fiorina, to help bring down Donald J. Trump, the Republican favorite.”

Mr. Martin, Mr. Flegenheimer and Mr. Burns further explained the ulterior motives behind Sen. Cruz’s tactic. Because the move occurred a day after Mr. Trump won the primaries in five East Coast states by sweeping margins, Sen. Cruz’s decision could be “amounted to the greatest diversionary tactic a presidential candidate can stage–or at least the grandest one available to a candidate trailing by about 400 delegates and who failed to win more than 25 percent of the vote in any state on Tuesday.” In other words, Sen. Cruz’s announcement could have been an attempt to distract voters from his losses in the primaries in order to boost his chances of appearing favorable.

Further showcasing that the main reason for this declaration was to stall Mr. Trump, Mr. Burns and Ms. Alcindor said that both Sen. Cruz and Ms. Carly Fiorina, in their speech together, “spoke of Mr. Trump in the language of relentless opposition, casting him as a sinister figure who must not be allowed to become president.” Because a large portion of their speech together so heavily focused on Mr. Donald Trump, it became concluded by many that he was the main crux of why Sen. Cruz decided upon Ms. Fiorina as his running mate.

In addition, Sen. Cruz’s criteria for his choice of running mate reflects his desire to halt Mr. Trump’s progression. “Do they think through decisions in a rash and impulsive way?” Sen Cruz asked. “Do they pop off the handle at whatever strikes them at any given moment?”

Considering that Sen. Cruz has frequently criticized Mr. Trump for his “reactive” and “belligerent” nature, these remarks serve to take a jab at Mr. Trump.

Sen. Cruz explained why he chose Ms. Fiorina as his running mate, describing her as “brilliant, capable and deeply principled,” and praising her for having “shattered glass ceilings” in her former profession as Hewlett-Packard’s chief executive.

Moreover, Sen. Cruz could have chosen Ms. Fiorina in order to harness the power of the female vote, capitalizing on Mr. Trump’s unfavorable standing with women.

According to a Gallup poll conducted in April, “70 percent of women have an unfavorable opinion of Mr. Trump.” This lack of popularity among female constituents may have resulted from some of Mr. Trump’s remarks about various women, such as when he alleged that Ms. Megyn Kelly, Fox News debate moderator, posed tough questions because she was menstruating and when he claimed that Sec. Hillary Clinton, Democratic presidential frontrunner, was only winning the primaries because she was playing the “woman’s card.”

These issues would especially be brought to the limelight when one considers Mr. Trump’s contentious history with Ms. Fiorina, where he has criticized her business record, voice and looks. “Look at that face,” Mr. Trump stated in regards to Ms. Fiorina. “Would anyone vote for that?”

Thus, because of his past remarks, if Mr. Trump ever confronted Ms. Fiorina on any issue, the clash would attain an inherently gendered nature, potentially providing Sen. Cruz a boost in the polls.

There have been some immediate, but minor, results from Sen. Cruz’s announcement. According to recent Indiana polls, Sen. Cruz has “edged closer to Mr. Trump,” but still remains behind.

Another potential benefit from Sen. Cruz’s announcement is that it could fortify his reputation as a political maverick. “For those inclined to cast Sen. Cruz’s hard-charging Senate tenure as a triumph of principle, the selection and its unusual timing could register as the kind of unconventional move of a Republican who has made a career of bucking the party’s establishment,” Mr. Martin, Mr. Flegenheimer and Mr. Burns stated.

However, there are several drawbacks to Sen. Cruz’s decision.

“For Mr. Cruz, the drawbacks to naming Mrs. Fiorina are many: a pick designed to change momentum in a primary could prove less than optimal for a general election,” Mr. Martin, Mr. Flegenheimer and Mr. Burns asserted. “Voters might find it presumptuous for a candidate to name his prospective running mate while trailing by several hundred delegates.”

Additionally, “among Republicans in Washington, where skirmishes with Mr. Cruz have focused more often on tactics than policy substance, the maneuver appeared likely to reinforce the perception among his detractors that he is cynical and calculating.”