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Naming a running mate some three months before the convention makes Ted Cruz look desperate — so goes the charge I’ve encountered on Drudge, in half a dozen reports of the event, and at saturation levels on Facebook and Twitter. You know what? Ted Cruz was — is — desperate. After Cruz’s victory in Wisconsin, a lot of observers (I include myself here) thought that Trump had peaked. He’d win in New York, but probably fail to take much more than 50 percent of the vote even there, in his home state, then sink. Instead Trump won big in New York — very big, even carrying all the upstate congressional districts — and then just yesterday he swept five out of five northeastern primaries. Ted Cruz had to do something. He had to.
Given that exigency, how has Cruz performed? In my judgment, impressively.
Carly Fiorina will give Cruz a couple of entire news cycles, and at a time when Trump would otherwise have dominated the news, that’s invaluable in itself. She also extends a certain appeal to Republican women, among whom she has higher favorability ratings than Cruz himself. She’s also a very fine campaigner — well spoken, endlessly energetic; the kind of performer who may very well make a material difference in coming days in Indiana. Most important? Carly is a believer. She adds credence and a certain new energy to what has always been Cruz’s fundamental appeal: devotion to the Constitution and an insistence — a really very fierce determination — to roll back the administrative state to protect the liberties of the people.