Cruz’s calculated move on running mate


Ted Cruz greets supporters with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina
Ted Cruz greets supporters with former Hewlett-Packard chief executive Carly Fiorina Getty Images

In a campaign in need of a jolt, a shake-’em-up moment, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has tried to provide one. He has announced, three months out from the Republican Party convention, that his choice of a running mate is former GOP presidential candidate Carly Fiorina.

Make no mistake. This is a cold political calculation from a candidate whose main grasp on support is as a Trump Alternative, a person who might be able to throw a wrench in the gilded works of GOP front-runner Donald Trump. It’s ironically not that the Republican mainstream is all that crazy about the hard-right Texas senator who once roiled his own colleagues by reading Dr. Seuss on the Senate floor. No, it’s that those mainstreamers hope that Trump’s campaign can be halted at the convention, and that another candidate, perhaps one yet to emerge, will come forward to claim the nomination.

It seems at this point a vain hope. And Fiorina is hard to figure as some kind of game-changing magnetic figure. She ran for president as a successful business executive — former CEO of Hewlett-Packard — but didn’t do well in a crowded Republican field. And her performance as a CEO included thousands of job cuts at HP in a tenure that hasn’t really been that closely examined. Certainly it will be now, and Donald Trump, who prides himself on having the most expertise in business, will surely target her for fresh criticism.

But Cruz figured, probably correctly, that after losing five recent state races to Trump, he needed a jump start or his campaign might have been over. So now he fights on, with a campaign logo featuring the name of his running mate. Trump, meanwhile, markets his name and only his name. So far, it seems to be working, at least in the Republican race.