Ted Cruz has six days to shake up the GOP presidential race. Six. Days. If he can’t, it’s going to be goodbye, exciting national campaign trail, and hello, the quiet halls of the US Senate. Where he does not have many friends.
That’s probably why, according to the Associated Press, he is announcing Wednesday that if he wins the Republican presidential nomination, he would pick Carly Fiorina as his vice-presidential running mate.
Indiana is the problem. The Indiana GOP primary is next Tuesday, and if Donald Trump wins it is likely he will be able to reach 1,237 delegates and win the nomination outright on the first ballot at the Republican National Convention in Cleveland. Mr. Trump’s Tuesday sweep of northeastern states helped set this up. Indiana’s now the hinge on which the history of the GOP race may turn.
Senator Cruz had foreseen this. That’s one big reason he struck the nonaggression pact with John Kasich over the weekend. Cruz had to get the Ohio governor out of Indiana as much as possible, to give him a one-on-one match-up with Trump. Governor Kasich refused to quit. So a deal it had to be.
Give Kasich a clear field in New Mexico and Oregon in return? Sure. Cruz will worry about that when he gets there later in May. Or perhaps we should say if he gets there.
Enter Ms. Fiorina. This is not to denigrate her potential vice presidential qualities. She’s a forceful speaker – remember how hard she subtly ripped Trump in a debate after he’d criticized her appearance? She’s got lots of executive experience, albeit in the corporate world instead of government. She’s from California, a state with lots of Electoral College votes (and with its own big primary coming up on June 7).
But naming a VP choice after you’ve been mathematically eliminated from winning the nomination before the convention? Picking your second-in-command when you’re hundreds of delegates behind and your only hope is chaos in Cleveland? That’s a bold move. Some might say desperate.
Cruz’s aim is to get free media stories (like this one) in bunches, to knock Trump’s Tuesday successes down the newsfeeds a bit.
Get a little buzz going. Rally the faithful. Give your supporters and the ravenous reportorial hordes something to chew on besides the question of whether Trump is now the presumptive nominee
In that regard each news cycle, each hour is crucial. Cruz needs to regain momentum now, if not sooner.
Six days. Tick tock.