isIt’s somewhat amusing that as Carly Fiorina has risen in the polls and proven to be the most viable outsider candidate that Trump supporters have turned on her with a rabidity not even matched by Trump himself. Not only do these voters think she’s a fake or unprepared but they also think that she could have won California in 2010. Well, it seems a little education is in order here on two fronts: she created more jobs than were lost during her time at HP and second, she could never have won California running on the platform she did.

First-off, Trump supporters and Trump himself can complain little about Fiorina’s record. An entire segment of the second GOP debate was about Trump costing hundreds their jobs when a group of casinos he owned went belly-up in New Jersey. More pertinent to Fiorina, HP had more employees when she left than when she started. How did she accomplish such a feat? She downsized and revamped the company. Unforunately, such a process is painful but ultimately beneficial to the company and future employees.

It’s not surprising to hear Trumpers (as I call them) attack Carly on this point. Obama’s attacks were particularly effective against Romney on that front in 2012. It’s more surprising to hear them say the issue lost Fiorina the 2010 California Senate race. Did I miss something? Are we speaking about the conservative California that exists in an alternate reality?

To be clear; Fiorina could never have won California in 2010. It’s a wonder she kept her loss down to the low double-digits. Consider several factors.

  • In September almost 45 percent (44.9) considered themselves Democrats. Barely 30 percent considered themselves Republicans and the rest were unaffiliated. Those registration numbers are atrocious for Republicans. According to Gallup that year California was the 10th most Democratic state in the country.
  • Gallup also polled the ideology of voters in CA and found that in 2010 24.1 percent identified as liberal. In 2014 27.5 percent identified as liberal, the 7th highest total in the nation. Good luck winning in a state with that kind of trend and Democratic voting base (before even moderates enter into the equation).
  • Fiorina ran as an unabashed conservative in 2010. She only shied away from the gay marriage debate but was more than happy to make it clear she was pro-life. She affiliated with the Tea Party and made little effort to reach out to minorities and it showed. While she won whites by 9 percent she lost every other racial group by double-digits. Keeping in mind California is a majority-minority state that is not a winning campaign formula.
  • Fiorina never led in the race. Sure, she polled strong early but that was when GOP candidates were surging nationally. As the election neared and voters became more engaged Boxer began to pull away in mid to late October.

This to some degree explains why Trump supporters argue she could have won in 2010. Hey, if she can be close with Boxer why can’t she close the deal? Must be the TV ads attacking her business tenure.

But that argument ignores the more relevant points above. It also ignores that polling in 2010 was biased nationally in the Republicans direction by a few points meaning the race was never as close as any poll ever showed.

Fiorina was a strong candidate in 2010 despite her flaws and she is an even stronger candidate nationally. Amid a more conservative electorate her views are resonating not just on style but also substance. It is not a sign of weakness she lost in 2010. It is a sign of just how liberal California is and points out the fact NO Republican could have won the state in 2010.

 

 

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