by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
It would be hard to find anyone not connected to her campaign who likes her odds of actually reaching the Oval Office. But there’s no mistaking her seriousness, and the campaign itself has been its own kind of success. She’s impressed audiences at the Conservative Political Action Conference, the Iowa Freedom Summit, and Iowa Faith & Freedom Coalition with her unapologetic conservatism and gone after Hillary Clinton on everything from conflicts of interest to wearing her sunglasses inside that Chipotle. She’s also shown an appealing gameness on the campaign trail, a looseness and willingness to play along. At HP, a common critique was that her best event was marketing herself. In running for president, that’s a core skill.
“She’s gotten better,” says conservative writer Ed Morrissey. “I never count anybody out who’s got that kind of talent on the stump. The idea that the first office you hold shouldn’t be the presidency is going to kick in at some point, but she’s going to impress people all the way through.”
Fiorina has another advantage over the rest of the GOP field, particularly against the presumptive Democratic nominee. “Realistically,” she says, “everything about me is different than anybody else running. My experience is different, my resume is different, my perspective is different, my voice is different. Oh, by the way, my gender is different.”