By picking failed and fired Hewlett-Packard CEO Carly Fiorina as his would-be vice-presidential running mate, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz is making a desperate and farcical last-ditch play to appeal to Republican women and stop Donald Trump in California.
If Trump hasn’t racked up 1,237 delegates by the California primary on June 7, Cruz’s ploy might help him among Golden State Republicans who chose the pugnacious Fiorina as their nominee for U.S. Senate in 2010 by 34 percentage points over moderate former U.S. Rep. Tom Campbell.
Of course, Hurricane Carly went on to get clobbered 52-42% by Democratic U.S. Sen. Barbara Boxer in November after she was hit for laying off 30,000 workers, shipping jobs to China, tripling her own salary, buying a million-dollar yacht and five corporate jets.
But before she fled in shame to Virginia after her 2010 drubbing, Fiorina had a 75% favorable rating among California Republicans and could, as a surrogate with potential portfolio, work the congressional districts where Cruz could pick up delegates. Places like the Central Valley, rural California and even in liberal areas like the Bay Area, where — although she is loathed by the electorate at large — only small numbers of Republicans reside.
Pure cynicism. So if – and it’s a big leap of faith – Cruz is still in the hunt by June, Fiorina, who stood up to Trump in one debate and reportedly has two X chromosomes, just might help him in the California GOP primary. Which is just as cynical as picking Geraldine Ferraro, Dan Quayle, John Edwards or Sarah Palin — people who had no business being a heartbeat away from the presidency — for purely tactical reasons.
Not since July 1976, when Ronald Reagan named moderate Pennsylvania Sen. Richard Schweiker his would-be running mate just before the Republican National Convention in a losing attempt to wrest the nomination from President Gerald Ford, has a candidate for president tried this foolhardy maneuver.*
But even if you put aside for the moment that Fiorina, as we wrote last May, is the personification of incompetence, hubris and nastiness, what matters more broadly as a political observation is that whatever good she does for Cruz in the short term, is disastrous in the long run. She’s just one more brick in the wall being steadily erected between the Republican Party and the voters and values of California.
From her false vicious attack on Planned Parenthood and her Ms. Taliban-style opposition to abortion rights, to her cavalier attitude toward throwing people out of work and blaming liberalism for climate change, the loathsome Fiorina — who came in seventh in Iowa and New Hampshire earlier this year — is a bad fit for California.
To be Viable in California… No pro-life candidate has won at the top of the ticket (president, governor or senate) in California since George Bush beat Michael Dukakis in 1988, more than a quarter century ago. This would be key to all the GOP candidates – not just Cruz and Fiorina. For while they are rabidly and piously anti-choice, Ohio Gov. John Kasich is just as fervent and has killed funding for Planned Parenthood in Ohio. And Trump is a born-again pro-lifer and a woman-belittling misogynist to boot.
Cruz and Fiorina (and Trump and Kasich, for that matter) oppose a pathway to citizenship for undocumented immigrants – a position sharply at odds with the vast majority of voters in California and even a substantial portion of Republicans.
In the most recent USC Dornsife/Los Angeles Times statewide poll, more than three-fourths of voters said they believed immigrants who are already here should be allowed to stay; 65% they should be allowed to apply for U.S. citizenship and another 14% said they should be allowed to stay and work legally but not apply for citizenship. Only 16% said that they should be required to leave the country.
CRP Chairman Jim Brulte will be putting on a game face this weekend at the California Republican Party convention in Burlingame – where Trump, Kasich, Cruz and Fiorina are all scheduled to speak. But their presence there and throughout the state will surely undermine his attempts to moderate the party’s image and isolate the right-wing extremists who have held sway for decades.
Just a Few Facts. Finally, with the Three GOP Stooges and Carly all speaking this weekend, the august national press corps will be descending upon us, no doubt offering their great wisdom about our fair state.
While we, of course, will learn gobs from the roving band of trail reporters and their brilliant anchors back in Washington and New York, we thought it might be useful to suggest a few additional facts about California politics that the MSM should keep in mind.
–As we’ve noted, in their short-game effort to win Republican delegates – including trying to persuade attendees at a convention for what is fast becoming an irrelevant party in California (28%) – the three GOP ass clowns will further alienate the broad California electorate, taking the Golden State’s 55 electoral votes – 20% of the total needed — further out of contention in the general election.
— President Barack Obama and Governor Jerry Brown — who Trump, Cruz and Kasich will be trashing — are actually popular among California voters. Obama’s job approval is 59% and Brown’s in 55% in the latest Field Poll. Sure, the stooges can win points among the knuckle-draggers in the CRP convention hall by attacking them, but this will only further cut themselves off from the masses of California voters who will help elect the next president.
— Eighty-three percent of Latino voters statewide (not just Republicans) have an unfavorable view of Trump and 55% have a negative view of Cruz, according to the Field Poll. Eighty percent of women disapprove of Trump and 61% have an unfavorable view of Cruz. About eight in 10 Latinos despise Trump and nearly as many find Cruz distasteful.
— On the other hand both Hillary Clinton and Bernie Sanders get favorable ratings from about 58% of voters and 54% of women. So while the Democrats the Three Stooges will be attacking this weekend may be unpopular among Republicans (12% favorable for Clinton and 20% for Sanders), they are quite popular with voters overall.
Bottom Line: Barbara Boxer is right — Cruz and Carly would be the “Mean and Meaner” ticket.
*Our friend the great George Skelton reports in the By God LA Times today that Gov. Jerry Brown named the Rev. Jesse Jackson as his running mate prior to the April New York primary in 1992. We were there, too, but as we remember it (and as George and David Lauter wrote back then), Brown had suggested Jackson as a “potential” running mate, should he win the nomination — not as a package deal. Of course, even that was enough to blow Jerry’s chances with the Jewish community in New York City, which never forgave Jesse for calling NY “Hymietown.”)