Our Opinion: Fiorina's role as Cruz running mate may bait Trump

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Ted Cruz's choice of Carly Fiorina as his running mate on Wednesday doesn't make it any more likely that he will be the Republican presidential nominee. The selection could, however, bait Donald Trump into saying something offensive.

The Texas senator's announcement came a day after he was flattened by Mr. Trump in five East Coast primaries. Mr. Trump declared himself the Republican Party's "presumptive nominee" after his decisive victories on Tuesday, and indeed it is increasingly difficult to imagine a scenario in which he doesn't win. Senator Cruz hopes a win in Indiana on Tuesday will turn the tide.

The selection of Ms. Fiorina as his vice presidential candidate is transparently a desperate bid on the part of Mr. Cruz to move on from Tuesday's losses by changing the subject. Beyond that, Ms. Fiorina, who briefly gained traction as a presidential candidate before falling back in the polls and dropping out in February, doesn't add much to the senator's effort.

As a Hewlett Packard CEO who presided over thousands of layoffs, she has little appeal to today's electorate, which is angry about job losses and corporate cutbacks. The June 7 California primary is of critical importance to Senator Cruz. And while Ms. Fiorina lived there for a number of years, she was defeated in her race for U.S. Senate in California six years ago and now lives in the suburbs outside Washington, D.C.

Ms. Fiorina is, however, a tough campaigner whose presence in the Republican presidential field brought out all of Mr. Trump's trademark sexism. His remarks went beyond her record as a CEO, which is fair game, to her voice and looks, infamously observing in a Rolling Stone interview last summer, "Look at that face. Would anybody vote for that?"

Mr. Fiorina has continued to criticize Mr. Trump, and if Senator Cruz employs her as an attack dog, which is a common role for a vice presidential candidate, she may succeed in causing him to lose his temper and launch a sexist barrage of insults. Mr. Trump's sexism, however, hasn't mattered to Republican primary voters and probably won't at this point in the campaign. If Mr. Trump should attack Ms. Fiorina in a personal fashion, it is most likely to benefit presumptive Democratic presidential nominee Hillary Clinton, whose staff is undoubtedly busy stockpiling sexist remarks to use against Mr. Trump in the general election.


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