Cruz to make "major announcement" at 4 p.m.; Update: Fiorina as VP?

Hopefully he’s planning to announce he’s now learned that a “basketball ring” is commonly referred to as a hoop. Good lord, man.

Only two possibilities for what the announcement might be. One is that he’s finally landed Mike Pence’s endorsement. That would be nice counterprogramming to today’s “it’s all over now, baby blue” media narrative but I don’t think it’s happening. Why would Pence, who’s been reluctant to endorse for fear that it’ll alienate some key faction of Republicans he needs this fall, suddenly change his mind the day after Cruz has taken the most hellacious beating of the campaign? It would be a superb show of conservative #NeverTrump solidarity in the teeth of daunting odds, but if Pence cared about that more than his own reelection chances he would have endorsed already. He’s skittish about making a bold move; endorsing today would be the boldest possible move given the timing. There’s no reason to think it’s coming. And just as I’m writing that, word is circulating on social media that he won’t be at the 4 p.m. rally. So much for that theory.

Which means it has to be the other likely possibility, that Cruz is going to name a running mate. There have been signs all week that he’s considering that, precisely because he knew a blowout was coming on Tuesday and he’d need to shift the conversation afterward immediately with Indiana set to vote in just a week. Picking a VP is the only card he has to play that can suck some media away from Trump, at least for a few hours. Like the Cruz/Kasich alliance, it’s a high-risk move made from necessity. Without the vice presidency to offer, Cruz loses one of his bargaining chips at the convention. He’ll be scorched in Trump-friendly media (which is most media) too for presuming to name a ticket on the day after he was just pounded in the mid-Atlantic and remains stuck with less than half the delegates he’d need to clinch at the convention. But what else can he do? Without a “major” development to discuss, he’ll be left answering “How can you possibly win?” questions for the rest of the week.

Hopefully it’ll work out better than his deal with Kasich, which … isn’t doing so hot right now:

John Kasich may have agreed to cede Indiana to Ted Cruz as part of a coordinated strategy to stop Donald Trump, but Kasich’s top backers in the state say they’re frustrated and confused by the tactical maneuvering – and they have no plans to play along…

Though several Kasich backers said they understood the strategic value of boosting Cruz in Indiana, they still intend to vote for Kasich and won’t actively encourage Kasich backers to vote for the Texas senator, whose hardline style and vocal social conservatism are hard for many moderates to swallow…

Added State Rep. Randy Truitt, “I am gonna vote for the governor. It’s actually more confusing to me than anything. Indiana’s an early voting state. We’ve had people already voting. I know quite a few people that have already cast their vote for Gov. Kasich. I’ve been telling people … to stay true.”

Nothing would put a bow on the gift-wrapped box of sh*t that is this primary like Cruz narrowly losing Indiana because Kasich supporters stubbornly refused to back him, even though Cruz winning the state is Kasich’s only hope for a convention.

Anyway, I can’t imagine the VP pick will be anyone but Carly Fiorina. See this post for my reasons why. She’ll be a fine attack dog against Trump for the next week and beyond, although if Cruz doesn’t pull off a win in Indiana, I don’t think she’ll matter. There’ll be too much resignation to the idea of Trump as nominee to hold back the tide in California. I don’t know that formally putting Fiorina on the ticket and deputizing her as surrogate-in-chief will make for much buzz either. The idea of a woman as potential VP nominee, especially with another woman poised to lead the other party, would be a big news if Cruz’s chances at the nomination were higher than, say, five percent. But they aren’t, which means this’ll be seen by some persuadables less as a vision of how Cruz would govern than as a stunt. Frankly, if he’s all about cranking up maximum buzz this week and reenergizing anti-Trumpers, I wonder if there’s anyone he could put on the ticket that would be equal to the task. Marco Rubio’s the only name I can think of that’s big enough to make the media pause in writing its obituaries for Cruz, but there’s zero reason to think he’s interested. Scott Walker would help in Indiana, but I don’t know why a guy who’s mulling another term as governor of Wisconsin would want to spend the next six weeks as presumptive VP to a guy who’s almost certainly going to lose the race and could lose badly in California. If it’s anything other than Fiorina at 4 today, I’ll be shocked.

Update: Yup.

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