Our Tim Alberta reports that Ted Cruz will name Carly Fiorina his running mate for the presidency this afternoon.
How does she help Cruz, who is currently sputtering in second place and running out of chances to beat Donald Trump? She’s strong and polished on the stump, equally at home giving a big policy speech, answering questions at a town hall, or offering one-liners on a late-night talk show. She’s an outsider, in a year when political neophytes are all the rage. And most important of all, she has the best chance of any potential running mate to negate presumptive Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton’s political strengths.
Fiorina can rip into Clinton without fear of being called sexist. She can also coopt Clinton’s message to female voters, letting them know that she’s been through exactly the same aggravations and indignities they’ve experienced in their everyday lives. She made a point of claiming the feminist mantle away from Democrats even as she announced that she was suspending her campaign:
Do not let others define you. Do not listen to anyone who says you have to vote a certain way or for a certain candidate because you’re a woman. That is not feminism. Feminism doesn’t shut down conversations or threaten women. It is not about ideology. It is not a weapon to wield against your political opponent. A feminist is a woman who lives the life she chooses and uses all her God-given gifts.
Will Fiorina help Cruz in the California presidential primary? Though she’s a known commodity statewide, having lost the 2010 Senate race to Barbara Boxer, there’s little evidence that California Republicans see her as a favorite daughter. At one point, in October, she rose to 13 percent in polling of likely Republican voters there. But by January, she was back down to 3 percent.If nothing else, the Cruz-Fiorina ticket will sharpen the contrast for Republicans from here on out. Nearly 40 percent of the party’s voters are behind Trump, content to ignore the ominous polling, the reports of infighting at the top levels of his campaign, and the contradictory policy proposals that come out of his mouth.
By picking Fiorina, Cruz is practically shouting that he and his new running mate can deliver victory and mitigate the gender gap in November, while Trump cannot. We’ll know soon whether enough voters heed his cries.
— Jim Geraghty is the senior political correspondent for National Review.