Today, Republican presidential hopeful Ted Cruz announced that his vice-presidential running mate will be Carly Fiorina. What Ted Cruz would like for us, the media, to do here is pretend that it matters that he’s nominating Carly Fiorina for vice-president, to speculate on how this might change the race, to write a bunch of stories about whether Fiorina can pull delegates from Cruz in California, whether this might animate apathetic voters depressed by Donald Trump, whether Fiorina’s business record and popularity with Beltway insiders complements Cruz’s outsider credentials without compromising them, etc. He’s doing this to distract from the fact that Trump destroyed both him and Kasich in yesterday’s primaries and that Trump can sew up the nomination in a week in Indiana.
The truth is that it doesn’t matter that Cruz announced that Carly Fiorina will be his VP. In fact, it matters so little that I’m not going to insult your intelligence or waste my time by pretending it does. Instead, I’d like to talk about another matter that’s also of great importance to me: NBA playoff basketball.
Chris Paul and Blake Griffin both got hurt in the same game on Monday night. The Clippers are a professional basketball franchise that, like Carly Fiorina, is based in California. Also like Carly Fiorina, the Clippers will have no effect on who will be selected to be the GOP’s nominee for president in the 2016 election. Paul broke his hand and Griffin reinjured his quad, which means that, like the Republican primary, the Clippers’ season appears to be over in all but a technical sense, and reintroducing Carly Fiorina into the mix is highly unlikely to change anything.
It’s so strange how fortunes can change in an instant, isn’t it? For a few hours on Monday, basketball fans and media were discussing the Clippers’ chances of going to the Western Conference finals, and now it’s realistic to wonder whether they’ll even win another game before being eliminated from the playoffs. Life can be cruel and unfair like that, the way it reduces the plans of man to nonsense and ruin. For instance, Ted Cruz has been planning to run for president literally since he was in high school. He had a pretty workable strategy for winning the GOP nomination this year — run as an insurgent against the intransigent establishment. Against Jeb Bush, who many assumed would be the nominee, he could cast himself as the lean, prophetic firebrand who had come to wrest the party from passive and lazy party insiders. The fact that nobody inside the party could stand him would be an asset instead of a weakness with the voters, as would his tendency toward self-righteous grandstanding.
Then along came Trump, who was even more of an outsider, whom party insiders liked even less, who was even more prone to bloviating, turning Cruz into the establishment candidate by default. Like losing your two best players in the same playoff game to injuries, it’s an eventuality that you can’t really plan for. The Clippers, of course, are going to try to put a good face on things. They’ll do their level best to beat the Trail Blazers on Wednesday, to show their hometown fans that they are fighters that never say die. But like Ted Cruz, they know, in their hearts, that even a temporary victory is incredibly unlikely to stave off their ultimate defeat. Starting veteran wing Jeff Green, who, like Carly Fiorina, is quite popular among pundits because of his superficial appeal and potential and despite a long track record of disappointing when it comes to actually delivering on said potential, isn’t going to change that. As Ted Cruz might say, this is a Hail Mary penalty kick that's gonna bounce right off the basketball ring.