To begin, the diversity of this nascent field is worth noting: Of the six Republican candidates that will likely be in the race by the end of the week, only two of them (Rand Paul and Mike Huckabee) are white males. Ted Cruz and Marco Rubio are Hispanic, Carly Fiorina is obviously a woman, and Dr. Ben Carson is black.
Fiorina has already displayed an ability – and eagerness – attack Hillary Clinton in an aggressive manner that might not work, were she an old white man. Fiorina’s very presence also helps blunt the perception that this election will be some sort of a proxy battle of the sexes. “Because I am a woman, there are many things [Hillary Clinton] can’t say,” Fiorina explained to Fox News recently. “She can’t play the gender card. She can’t talk about being the first woman president. She can’t talk about the war on women.” Putting aside identity politics, these candidates also bring interesting and varied talents and biographies to the campaign. Two of them – Fiorina and Carson – are more or less political neophytes, but offer a different kind of experience. As a former corporate executive, Fiorina knows what it’s like to have to make payroll and meet budgets. But her checkered tenure at Hewlett-Packard, and her unceremonious departure in 2005, will make it hard for her to fully capitalize on her business experience.
Dr. Carson’s story is even more interesting.