Republican presidential candidate Sen. Ted Cruz is far behind Donald Trump’s delegate count. His campaign at this point in election 2016 is riding on a hope and a prayer. Facing a must-win situation in next week’s primary in Indiana, the flamboyant conservative is literally on the ropes.
Inside the Cruz campaign, it’s time to throw a political Hail Mary. On Wednesday he announced his vice-presidential running mate, Carly Fiorina, to the surprise of many in attendance. Although it is not a precedent for a second-place candidate to make such a move, it occurred last in 1976.
It was the year President Gerald Ford ran for the first time as president. He had succeeded Richard Nixon who reigned August 9, 1974. His later pardon of Nixon was very unpopular among many Americans, who showed their anger at the Kansas City Republican National Convention in August, 1976.
A two-term governor from the State of California, Gov. Ronald Reagan, came close to upending the “incumbent” Ford gambled by announcing his choice for vice president before the nominating process began. He selected Sen. Richard Schweiker (R-PA) who was considered a moderate conservative.
Gov. Reagan was attempting to balance the ticket. It almost worked. He lost on the third ballot to President Ford and a noticeably disappointed minority disbanded. He lost to a little-known former governor from Georgia, Jimmy Carter. Ted Cruz has selected former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his running mate. She is outspoken, intelligent and every much the conservative as Ted is.
The question becomes why Fiorina and why now? If anything, voter’s main objection to Cruz is his harsh conservative interpretation of the country’s morals and the direction it is going. There isn’t much of a difference in Fiorina’s rhetoric while she too was running for president. That leaves the idea of a woman on the ticket to offset Hillary as his probable political strategy. It doesn’t hurt that her presence on the Cruz ticket provides a credible woman to offset Hillary’s claim as a woman’s champion.
It becomes clear that Cruz desperately needed something to change the race’s momentum. He turned to a failed Republican presidential candidate best known for her fiery attacks on Trump and Hillary Clinton.
Stepping to the podium after Cruz’s announcement, the confident businesswoman said, “Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton both would be disastrous for this nation. They are not going to challenge the system that has sold us all down the river. They are the system.”
The sudden announcement of Fiorina wasn’t really so sudden. Cruz’s campaign already had Cruz-Fiorina campaign paraphernalia for sale and a website, CruzCarly.com, to solicit donations. For all the polling Cruz’s handlers have in their hands, it is the idea that Fiorina somehow makes winning Indiana in the primary next Tuesday more feasible.
The Texas senator trails Trump in the latest state polls and would have no realistic hope of preventing Trump from getting to 1,237 delegates and clinching the GOP nomination without a win in the Indiana. A Hail Mary indeed.