Fiorina just a pawn in cynical game Cruz won’t win

Carly Fiorina Ted Cruz 04272016 Indianapolis
Ted Cruz names Carly Fiorina as running mate
01:08 - Source: CNN

Editor’s Note: Jennifer L. Lawless is a professor of government at American University, where she is also the director of the Women & Politics Institute. She is the co-author of “Women on the Run: Gender, Media, and Political Campaigns in a Polarized Era.” The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.

Story highlights

Jennifer Lawless: Cruz pick of Fiornia for running mate is political tactic to steal spotlight from Trump

She says she lacks political experience a candidate would seek in VP; using her to goad Trump will backfire

CNN  — 

On Wednesday, Ted Cruz announced that former Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina, who dropped out of the presidential race in February, would be his running mate.

At first I was perplexed. Cruz isn’t the nominee. It’s looking increasingly unlikely that he will be, and people who aren’t nominees don’t need running mates. So why the announcement?

But then I realized Fiorina is Cruz’s Hail Mary pass, his “reset button” on a campaign for a nomination that is falling further and further out of reach. She is a political tactic to try to steal back the spotlight from Donald Trump, who crushed his opponents in a five-state primary sweep Tuesday night.

Jennifer Lawless

What Cruz doesn’t seem to realize, though, is that it won’t work. Selecting Fiorina underscores his own lack of judgment and character in at least three ways.

First, Fiorina’s not a Washington insider, but she also has no political experience. Given that Cruz is only a first-term senator himself, it would behoove him to select someone with the political relationships and knowledge he lacks.

Barack Obama understood the importance of this when he selected Joe Biden. Donald Trump has said that he’ll do something similar. It’s one thing to distance yourself from political insiders. It’s another to demonstrate an utter disregard for the institutional knowledge required to be commander in chief.