Ted Cruz Unveils a Campaign Surprise, but It May Not Be Enough

Screen Shot 2016-04-28 at 7.43.04 AMALAN RAPPEPORT

Thursday, April 28, 2016

 

Good Thursday morning.

The “Stop Trump” movement is getting a new look as Senator Ted Cruz of Texas has taken the highly unusual step of picking an early running mate as he looks to block Donald J. Trump from winning the Republican nomination. Mr. Cruz and his vice-presidential hopeful, Carly Fiorina, will hit the campaign trail and make three stops together in Indiana, creating a spectacle so rare for this stage of an election that it could steal some of the spotlight that tends to shine brightest on Mr. Trump.

But will Mrs. Fiorina matter?

Perhaps. At a time when Mr. Trump has injected gender politics into the campaign by accusing Hillary Clinton of playing the “woman’s card,” Mr. Cruz, his leading Republican rival, has joined forces with someone who highlights Mr. Trump’s weakness with female voters and relishes skewering him. She also offers voters a preview of what a diverse Republican general election ticket could look like.

While the shotgun marriage appears to make practical sense, it might not be enough to make a difference. Mrs. Fiorina is a familiar presence in politics, but her campaigns for a California Senate seat and for the presidency both ended in failure. There is little evidence that she is sufficiently popular to help Mr. Cruz carry Indiana next week or California in June – which he will need to do to stop Mr. Trump. And the surprising move, taken together with Mr. Cruz’s recent decision to coordinate with his other rival, Gov. John R. Kasich of Ohio, indicates that he may indeed be getting desperate.

At the very least, Mr. Cruz has little to lose, and he can take comfort that his conservative idol, Ronald Reagan, tried something similar in 1976. Mr. Reagan failed to win the nomination that year, but his persistence paid off, and, four years later, he won the presidency.