Now I can’t speak to Fiorina’s psyche. In a crowded GOP field, maybe she really believes she is running to win. There is always the possibility the other candidates could be incapacitated by a meteor or revealed to be secret members of al Qaida, leaving her as last (wo)man standing. But deep down, considering her lack of political experience, it’s hard not to believe she views her entrance into the race more as a chance to set herself up nicely to be a top contender for the vice presidential nomination, than as an effort to actually win the Republican presidential nomination outright.
The point is, it’s not sexist to suggest that this is what Fiorina is really after. Ben Carson is polling far better than Fiorina, but no one is seriously suggesting that he will either win the Republican nomination or be a top candidate for vice president. Considering her lack of political experience, it’s a compliment to Fiorina that she is considered unlikely to win the Republican nomination but a serious contender for the vice presidential nomination.
Far from treating Fiorina “less seriously than a host of other (male) candidates,” as Mair suggests, Fiorina is being afforded far more respect than most of the male contenders who have practically no chance of winning the GOP nomination.