Four years ago, Mitt Romney lost the industrial Midwest, and the White House, in large part because the Democrats successfully used Romney's tenure at Bain Capital to portray him as a champion of outsourcing American jobs. Bizarrely, Ted Cruz has chosen as his running mate Carly Fiorina, whose stint as CEO of Hewlett-Packard makes Romney look, by contrast, like a paragon of corporate philanthropy.
Of course, everything about Cruz's action was bizarre. Presidential candidates who lose every county in five states one day generally don't spend the next announcing their vice presidential pick. And it's hard to see what Fioriana adds to Cruz's campaign. Her attempt to become a U. S. Senator from California was no more successful than her campaign for president. There is no sizable constituency devoted to Fiorina, much less a groundswell to put her on a presidential ticket.
But it is Fiorina's selection in a year that has seen Donald Trump and Bernie Sanders gain millions of votes by attacking economic globalization that is most bizarre. Fiorina's tenure at Hewlett-Packard is widely regarded as disastrous, and she was forced to resign by the company's Board. A friend who worked at HP at the time told me that most employees felt about Fiorina the way most U. S. Senators feel about Ted Cruz. Little wonder: as I noted in Chronicles in May 2004, Fiorina defended the outsourcing she championed at HP by declaring, "There is no job that is America's God-given right anymore." Of course, Fiorina got a far sweeter deal for failing at HP than the Americans whose jobs she shipped overseas: Fiorina got a $21,000,000 severance package when she left Hewlett-Packard, plus an additional $21,000,000 in other compensation. It is impossible to fathom why Ted Cruz thinks this is the sort of record that will cause Americans whose own communities have been devastated by globalization to vote for him.
Thomas Piatak is a contributing editor to Chronicles: A Magazine of American Culture. He writes from Cleveland, Ohio.