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Presidential Horse Race 2016: Ted Cruz ups the ante with Fiorina as running mate

Picking up the pieces from Tuesday night’s stunning losses will not be easy for Ted Cruz.

No one expected the conservative Texas senator to do well in liberal “New York values” territory the past couple Tuesdays, but after a fairly convincing win in Wisconsin three weeks ago, few would have predicted that Cruz Cruz Fiorina 2016would perform as poorly as he did in six of the original thirteen American colonies.

The Founding Fathers must be rolling over in their graves with the way big government tyrannical politics has evolved in those places two hundred and forty years after their great experiment began. It’s a tragic shame and very ironic that the only true believer in the Constitution didn’t win any of those states in 2016.

It’s a strange, strange world.

One thing all not-Trump supporters agree on now is Cruz needs something special to happen to get him back on track.

That “special something” happened on Wednesday when Cruz named Carly Fiorina as his running mate.

Ryan Lovelace of the Washington Examiner reports, “Texas Sen. Ted Cruz picked Carly Fiorina to be his running mate if he earns the Republican nomination.

“’After a great deal of time and thought, after a great deal of consideration and prayer, I have come to the conclusion that if I am nominated to be president of the United States that I will run on a ticket with my vice presidential nominee Carly Fiorina,’ Cruz said at a rally in Indianapolis. ‘Born in Texas — very first thing I liked about her — Cara Carleton Fiorina, known throughout the country simply by the name of Carly, is an extraordinary leader.’”

Cruz’s announcement didn’t come as too much of a surprise, since he’d hinted earlier in the day he was about to reveal something big. Many speculated he was going to say Gov. Mike Pence endorsed him in Indiana (more on this below). But no, it turned out to be Fiorina’s big day.

Adding Fiorina to the presidential race mix has a much bigger overall impact than even a Pence endorsement, though it’s not clear how it will play out in Indiana specifically.

Ever since Fiorina endorsed Cruz ahead of the important March 15 primaries, she’s been his most visible and enthusiastic surrogate, often introducing the candidate at rallies and making appearances on his behalf on TV news shows.

Fiorina is a great choice for Cruz for several reasons:

First, she’s a true “outsider,” the type of candidate voters are searching for this cycle. Fiorina did run for the Senate in California in 2010, but other than that experience and her months on the Republican presidential nomination campaign trail, she’s as “outsider” as they get.

Further, as a prominent former American corporate executive, she brings “outsider” business gravitas and know-how to the ticket. Carly knows how to run a business, just like Trump, the perfect type of person needed to streamline the workings of government – and mostly importantly, cut its size.

Second, as a conservative woman, she presents the perfect foil to Hillary Clinton. Fiorina is solidly pro-life, pro-national security and pro-traditional values.

If you need someone out there attacking the other party’s candidate (as is the running mate’s primary purpose), Fiorina is the right one for the job. Whereas few can stand Hillary Clinton’s wretched personality, Fiorina is truly accomplished and has a great life story.

Third, Carly is as articulate as they come. Fiorina is the only candidate who was able to successfully elevate her campaign from the “lower tier.” She did so because of her fearless debate style.

She will make a terrific spokesperson for Cruz, the party and the campaign.

Fourth, bringing on Fiorina draws the news media’s focus away from Trump at the perfect time.

Something was needed to change the race’s narrative from “Trump the inevitable.” Wednesday’s announcement accomplished the feat and gives new hope that not only can Trump be defeated, he can be replaced by a ticket that’s capable and confident.

Lastly, choosing Fiorina as his running mate was a great move for Cruz because she’s just about everything Trump is not in a more attractive package.

Ever since Trump made his now infamous “look at that face!” crack about Fiorina in a magazine interview back in September, Fiorina is the one of the few who has made him look foolish in taking back one of his offensive comments.

Though adding Fiorina to the ticket is a big net-positive for the Cruz campaign, there are potential drawbacks, too. By revealing his hand early, Cruz will no longer be able to offer the VP slot as leverage at the convention.

It also could be seen as a sign of desperation, though Trump will have to be careful in how he handles the spin on this one. If he goes over-the-top in insulting Fiorina, he risks a backlash that could be harmful, reminiscent of the prelude to Wisconsin.

Trump already does poorly enough with women as it is – he shouldn’t make it worse.

Clearly his best move would be to congratulate Cruz and Fiorina, and then promise to name a great candidate of his own when the time comes.

The question is, will he do it?

At this do-or-die moment in the 2016 campaign, Mike Pence needs to come down off the fence

Naming Carly Fiorina as his running mate was a huge move in Ted Cruz’s campaign. Now he could use a little Indiana flavor to help him win there.

What could possibly tip the balance in Indiana? Some are suggesting conservative Governor Mike Pence should get off the sidelines and endorse Cruz – now, if not sooner.

Jonah Goldberg of National Review writes, “Pence is surely aware of Trump’s unfavorables. But what he may not have considered is that if Trump loses the general election in a landslide, the recriminations will be ferocious. The postmortems will undoubtedly focus on who had a chance to stop Trump when it was possible. Among the first in the dock: the Hamlet of the Hoosiers.

“Most conservatives in Indiana have rallied to Cruz’s banner already. Curt Smith, the president of the Indiana Family Institute, told the Washington Examiner that Pence would ‘lock in his base’ by endorsing Cruz, and it would give Cruz a big advantage because the Pence campaign is well organized on the ground. Scott Walker, the governor of Wisconsin, helped deliver Cruz’s blowout victory there last month. It’s unlikely he’ll regret that decision down the road.”

It’s understandable why Pence is fence-sitting on the endorsement matter. He faces a tough reelection challenge this year and he’ll tick off a lot of people one way or another if he takes sides in the party presidential contest.

But as Goldberg points out in his article, there comes a time when choices need to be made and principle must be defended. Assuming Gov. Pence understands the gravity of the situation, risking a political office is the least someone could do to save the country.

There WILL be a nominee after the July convention. The party may or may not come together behind that nominee. But people will lay down their grudges eventually…or the party will morph into something different.

The Democrats and Republicans are so unpopular these days because there’s simply no way to make everyone happy. Trying to please everyone ends up pleasing no one. That’s why it’s important to say what you believe and then act on those beliefs when in office.

Ted Cruz has done that throughout his career. Donald Trump has been successful in a different kind of way, but there’s no telling how he’ll keep the promises he’s made on the campaign trail.

Mike Pence has an opportunity to make a difference in the outcome for Republicans. If he doesn’t take it, that says something about him right there.

Indiana could easily show how un-inevitable Trump really is

As Donald Trump delivered yet another victory speech on Tuesday night, he declared that he was already the presumptive Republican nominee and proceeded to lay out, once again, how he’d brought in new voters to the party and how he was going to beat “Hillary rather easily.”

Trump thinks it’s over. Listening to Newt Gingrich and Sean Hannity gloat over Trump on Fox News after the speech, they clearly think it’s over too.

The only problem is the tide could just as easily turn back the other way, starting in Indiana. Trump currently enjoys a slight polling lead in The Hoosier State, but there are factors in Cruz’s favor as well.

Josh Kraushaar of National Journal writes, “Anti-Trump groups such as the Club for Growth and Our Principles PAC are now pouring millions into Indiana to broadcast a singular stop-Trump, pro-Cruz message. Unlike New York and the Northeastern primary states, it’s inexpensive to air ads in most of Indiana’s media markets. Outside groups have mostly held their fire since Wisconsin. They’re coming back with a vengeance in Indiana, with anti-Trump groups outspending pro-Trump groups by a 4-to-1 ratio.

“If the battle for the nomination was defined by momentum, it’s fair to assume Trump could consolidate support with his Northeastern sweep. But this race has been about everything else. (Trump won big on Super Tuesday, only to be dealt caucus setbacks days later; he dominated in pivotal big-state primaries on March 15 only to flail in Wisconsin.) The regional differences in Trump’s support have been significant, and it’s more likely that tactics will define the Indiana primary more than Trump’s recent string of home-field victories.”

Kraushaar for one believes the Cruz/Kasich pact will have a significant impact in Indiana. He points out similar “agreements” worked well in Ohio (where Marco Rubio told his supporters to vote for Kasich) and Wisconsin (where Gov. Scott Walker told Kasich voters to crossover to Cruz).

The dynamics of Indiana are indeed different than what we’ve seen the past few weeks. The Midwest as a whole has not been dominated by Trump despite demographics favorable to the frontrunner in certain areas. With wins in Illinois, Michigan and Missouri (albeit with four candidate races), Trump certainly enjoys about 40% support. The question is whether all his attacks on the “rigged system” will play as well outside of his home territory.

Meanwhile, Kasich doesn’t figure to be a barrier there in any case, as he’s become even more irrelevant since being nearly shutout in the New England primaries. Trump has also resorted to going after Kasich, something the New York reality TV star had seemed reluctant to do for quite a long time.

It’s never nice to kick a guy when he’s down, but Kasich’s justifications for continuing to drag on in the race just sound more and more ridiculous all the time. Cruz may have been soundly beaten in the late April primaries, but he still has a solid delegate total and his behind-the-scenes delegate operation to lean back on.

Kasich…has neither. Again, who is going to donate to a candidate who can’t win anything?

Kasich voters have proven to be the most anti-Trump of any Republicans, so it’s likely they’ll at least be giving Cruz a look in hopes of stopping Trump in Indiana. More than ever, a vote for Kasich in The Hoosier State is a vote for Trump. It ain’t rocket science.

No one’s saying Cruz will pull off a dramatic Wisconsin-like win in Indiana. But with as crazy as the Republican race has been from the start, nothing should be ruled out.

Democrats already mocking Carly as Ted’s running mate

Finally today, we wouldn’t exactly expect the Democrats to be gracious in their comments regarding the newly announced Cruz/Fiorina ticket, but their reaction was typically classless and spiteful.

Gabby Morrongiello of the Washington Examiner reports, DNC chief executive Amy Dacey said in a statement , “’It's fitting that a man best known for shutting down the U.S. government would select a woman best known for almost shutting down a great U.S. company.’

“Dacey continued, ‘In a dangerous and complex world, the only foreign policy experience Carly Fiorina can speak of is outsourcing American jobs to other countries and selling computer equipment to Iran in violation of international sanctions.’”

Seriously, Democrats, that’s the best you can do?

Dacey’s statement provides a preview of the attacks they’ll use on Fiorina should she end up the nominee for vice president. When compared to their own woman at the top of the ticket, the negatives tilt heavily in one direction.

Before they criticize someone who’s actually accomplished something in her lifetime maybe they’d be better off taking a look at the heinous screeching windbag they’re about to elevate in their party.

I think Americans will gladly choose Fiorina if given the choice.

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