Ted Cruz prematurely announced Carly Fiorina as his vice presidential running mate on April 27, 2016. New York Times’ political analysts attribute this rush to name Fiorina as his running mate proves the senator is squarely set on taking down Donald Trump. Cruz’s campaign has been struggling to win the number of delegates needed to compete with Trump’s likely Republican nomination. However, the primaries are not over and Cruz is now hoping to win just enough delegates to contest Trump’s nomination at the Republican Convention in July.
Traditionally, a candidate’s running mate is announced after they have won their political party’s nomination, during the summer convention, ahead of the actual presidential race. Cruz announcing his running mate premature of this summer’s nominating convention is a strategic move for his campaign. The campaign is hoping that Fiorina will help win more delegates in the remaining state primaries, believing she will make his nomination more palatable than Trump.
Trump recently swept Cruz in the northeastern state primaries, but not even those wins have created a definite winner of the Republican nomination. Nor will the next primaries in Ohio, Oregon, Washington State or Indiana reveal a definite nominee. All of the candidates are setting their sights on California, the defining state prior to the conventions this summer.
The premature announcement of Fiorina as a running mate, reveals that Cruz is aware that he needs to do well on the west coast. Early poll predictions in California, are being debated as valid, yet the popular belief is that Trump is favored over Cruz. The presidential hopeful believes that Fiorina still carries political favor in the liberal state of California, having won the Republican governor nomination in a landslide, before she was defeated by a Democrat. Fiorina’s strong political ties in California, are what his campaign is hoping will set him apart from Trump in the sunshine state.
Another point of Cruz picking Fiorina is the hope that a woman will help his nomination become more appealing to female voters. Trump’s campaign has publicly alienated women; Cruz is playing the “woman card” against Trump. The senator has also struggled with appealing to female voters, a woman as his running mate may soften him toward female voters.
If Cruz wants to deny Trump the nomination he will need to win Indiana, no holds barred style. He will also need to, at the very least, split the delegates with Trump in California, and that is where Fiorina comes into play.
Fiorina’s early announcement as the vice presidential nominee means she can stump for Cruz in California while he works in states that he feels he has more of a stronghold in already, like Indiana. The hope is that having Fiorina in place early, as his attack dog, will help knock Trump off of his pedestal.
The Cruz campaign may still be lost, even with the Fiorina announcement. The campaign seems to be unaware of the fact that many of the conservatives who do not like Trump have the same disdain for Cruz. The conservatives who are simply anti-Trump voters are voting for Governor John Kasich.
Cruz is still splitting many votes with Kasich; making it more unlikely he will win enough delegates to solidify the Republican nomination outright. Cruz can only hope to win enough delegates to contest Trump’s nomination at the Republican convention.
The strategy behind the Cruz – Fiorina ticket is an obvious one, but could be seen as a desperate attempt among voters. In past elections where presidential hopefuls who have made strategic running mate announcements ahead of the convention did not gain additional favor with voters. Whether Cruz has found the moment in history where the strategy of a premature running mate announcement works, will only be discovered when all the polls have closed in June 2016.
Opinion by Gichele Cocrelle
Forbes: Ted Cruz’s Carly Fiorina VP Pick could backfire – badly
ABC News: Ted Cruz announces Carly Fiorina as vice president pick
New York Times: Ted Cruz announces Carly Fiorina as running mate, seeking jolt
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