Trump Should Pick a Running Mate, and It Probably Should Be a Woman. Thank you Ted Cruz.

Trump Should Pick a Running Mate, and It Probably Should Be a Woman. Thank you Ted Cruz.

Trump Should Pick a Running Mate, and It Probably Should Be a Woman. Thank you Ted Cruz.

Ted Cruz has received his fair share of criticism for various campaign moves – one being a loose pact with Kasich to divide and conquer some of the remaining primaries. His latest move was to announce his choice for Vice President, Carly Fiorina. While some of the initial response was negative – it was an unusual move to do something like this before winning the nomination himself, and it led to characterizing his campaign as desperate. Those criticisms have some basis, but I would bet a lot of money that Cruz already thought through all of that. He decided that whatever criticism he would receive was going to be outweighed by the benefit he perceived in making this move.

 

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One of the possible benefits Cruz saw was first to try to bump the news cycle away from Donald Trump’s big win in the Northeast. He did accomplish this to some degree as Fox News’ The Five led with the story of the VP pick. On the other hand, Bill O’Reilly almost completely ignored the announcement by burying it in less than 30 seconds of discussion and wrapped it into a segment more generally on women voters. Megyn Kelly followed up on The Kelly File with a prominent interview with Fiorina. Hannity spent an hour with the team last night.

If there’s one thing we know about Ted Cruz, it’s that he is a big picture, long-term type of guy. One of the biggest positives of this move is the push to define each candidates’ campaigns. Cruz put his cards on the table to give voters more than a glimpse of what his presidency will look like. In doing so, he has put pressure on Trump to do the same.

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Who is going to help me win this election?

So today, a few days after Cruz’ announcement, Trump is now feeling the heat from GOP lawmakers, women in particular, to choose a running mate, and to choose a woman. Names being floated are New Hampshire Senator Kelly Ayotte, former Secretary of State Condoleeza Rice, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez, Tennessee Representative Marsha Blackburn, and even South Carolina Governor Nikki Haley. So far Trump has not mentioned any women (except Oprah) whom he would consider for VP – he has only mentioned Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker, Florida Senator Marco Rubio, and Ohio Governor and fellow Republican candidate John Kasich – someone with more political experience.

SC Governor Nikki Haley
SC Governor Nikki Haley is probably the best choice,  but would she accept?

Trump has a major deficit with women voters and many think adding a woman to the ticket would help make him popular in a general election.

“General election women voters think he’s abhorrent,” said Katie Packer, the chairwoman of Our Principles Pac, which opposes Trump. “They think he’s a sexist. They think he doesn’t respect women, and doesn’t really view women in any real way beyond their physical appearance.

“If the party leadership embraces Donald Trump as the general election nominee than I think it will damage our party for a generation.”

….

“This election puts women in an incredibly tough spot, especially women who don’t support many or any of Hillary Clinton’s policies but who also don’t support Donald Trump,” said Mindy Finn, president of Empowered Women and a GOP strategist. “Conservative women don’t really have a presidential candidate. They are a lost electorate.”

Performance in the general election is what’s really on the mind of Republican leadership, so it may be wise for Trump to seriously consider countering Cruz’ move in order to present a ticket that may be more palatable in the general election.

Polls consistently show Trump with historically low approval ratings among women. An NBC/WSJ poll last month found that nearly half of Republican female primary voters – 47% – said they “can’t see” themselves supporting Trump, compared to about three in 10 women who could not imagine supporting his opponents, Texas senator Ted Cruz and Ohio governor John Kasich.

Even if Trump decides not to announce a VP pick before the convention, and he does win the nomination, he still needs to choose very carefully for the general. His supporters seem willfully blind to his weaknesses, but someone needs to Tell It Like It Is. Hillary Clinton should be the easiest candidate in history to beat into the ground, but somehow she is ahead in national polling when it comes to Trump. If Trump doesn’t do something to change his presentation, don’t anticipate any change in that polling when election day rolls around.

 

 

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2 Comments
  • J walter says:

    Why does he need a female VP? He needs to pick the best qualified person.

    • Jenny North says:

      I would like to think picking the best person for the job would be acceptable, but I don’t have much faith anymore that this place works on meritocracy alone.

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