Carly Fiorina became a household name last fall as the only woman running for the Republican nomination. With attacks on Hillary Clinton that seemed just a bit more piercing than the ones coming from the rest of the GOP field, debate performances that spoke to her knowledge and preparation, and a highly-publicized spat with Donald Trump, Fiorina briefly seemed like a force to be reckoned with.
Her moment in the spotlight didn’t last long. After the media tore her apart for her debatable interpretation of a Planned Parenthood video and Trump denounced her as the worst CEO Hewlett-Packard ever hired, Fiorina’s campaign dwindled to a quiet end.
The candidate herself, however, wasn’t ready to give up her newfound political status just yet. Fiorina announced her endorsement for Sen. Ted Cruz in March, repeating her argument that nominating Trump would be like gift-wrapping the presidency for Hillary. It’s unclear if Fiorina’s endorsement moved the needle at all, but she seems to have made an impression on Cruz. According to reports originating with The Weekly Standard, the Cruz campaign is vetting Fiorina for a possible spot on the ticket.
Whether or not Cruz is seriously considering Fiorina for the VP spot, it’s obvious that this “leak” is timed to pull the media away from two other stories that Cruz would rather de-emphasize. Tuesday’s primaries are not promising for the Texas senator, and he only has a week to go before what is expected to be a telling contest in Indiana. If he wants an upset there, he has to create the illusion of momentum – not an easy task when you’re being defeated in state after state.
Second, there’s this story of collusion between Cruz and John Kasich. This is one of those stories where it actually gets less interesting the further your dig beneath the surface, but it still plays right into the overall Trump narrative. That neither Cruz nor Kasich could see that makes you question their political competency.
But Cruz’s contention is that Trump is the one in “real trouble.”
“Why?” he asked supporters in Indiana. “Because he cannot earn the support of a majority of the delegates elected by the people. Donald has been a minority candidate, a fringe candidate. Now he’s benefited early in the race by having a multitude of opponents where the opposition to Donald was diffuse, but what we have seen happening over the last month is the Republican Party uniting behind our campaign.”
The argument makes sense, Cruz is a fine conservative, and no one can seriously doubt that he would make the country proud as president. But when you begin building your campaign around a message of “Vote for Me, I’m not Donald Trump,” it’s not exactly…inspiring.