Why Carly Fiorina can't lose
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Misleading headline alert: Carly Fiorina is not going to be the GOP presidential candidate. She's polling at 1.8 percent in the most recent Fox News poll. That puts her in a solid 13th place. It would take every Sherpa in Nepal to guide her to the top against those odds.


But she will win, in one sense, because she's positioned herself perfectly for the right side of the slash. As in, Rubio/Fiorina, Walker/Fiorina or Bush/Fiorina.

Whatever man emerges from the GOP pack would be making a huge mistake in not choosing Fiorina as a running mate. With Hillary ClintonHillary Diane Rodham ClintonRepublican Ohio Senate candidate slams JD Vance over previous Trump comments Budowsky: Why GOP donors flock to Manchin and Sinema Countering the ongoing Republican delusion MORE looking like a foregone conclusion right now, gender issues are going to make their presence felt in the 2016 election. From CNN to MSNBC to internet memes, the media will use the gender angle to attack the Republican nominee. It's a long campaign, and there are a lot of smartphones out there. The GOP candidate will be caught on camera "mansplaining," "manspreading" and "manslamming." That last one, according to HuffPost Women, is when men run into women on the sidewalk when the women don't move out of their way. And, by mid-2016, there will be an entire dictionary of manshaming words for Clinton to use. And they will cover the entire gamut of annoying things men do.

Whatever GOP man is at the top of the ticket, he will need a woman on the ticket to protect him. That's right: He will need a woman to protect him.

This is pretty typical political strategy in the unfortunate era of identity politics. Rumors circulate daily through the news media that Clinton's top choice for vice president will be Julian CastroJulian CastroJulian Castro knocks Biden administration over refugee policy Biden calls on Congress to extend eviction ban with days until expiration Cruz trolled on Twitter for slamming Democrats who fled Texas MORE. If she does pick him, it won't be because he is so uniquely qualified. He was mayor of San Antonio from 2009 to 2014 and has been secretary of Housing and Urban Development since 2014. Most people have never heard of him, and I would never have heard of him myself if it hadn't been for his keynote speech at the 2012 Democratic  convention.

His qualifications for being president might be slim, but his qualifications for protecting Clinton during the election are outstanding. Assuming one of former Gov. Jeb Bush (Fla.) or Sen. Marco RubioMarco Antonio RubioOvernight Defense & National Security — US tries to deter Russian invasion of Ukraine Senate eyes plan B amid defense bill standoff To counter China, the Senate must confirm US ambassadors MORE (Fla.) — who both speak fluent Spanish — wins the Republican nomination, Clinton will need an ally who can speak to Hispanic-Americans in Spanish. (And while Castro is apparently not fluent in Spanish, he is proficient.) She can't allow the GOP to take their message directly to Spanish-speaking Americans while hers makes its way to them through an interpreter. It's bad optics and bad communications.

So, while Fiorina will be the smart choice for vice president because she's a woman, she has loads more to offer than that.

First of all, she's as business-savvy as they come. She began her career in the technology industry as a sales rep at AT&T. Twenty years later, she was named the CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She was the first woman ever to head a Fortune 100 company.

Second, she is already in the midst of running a fantastic vice presidential campaign. The majority of the news that she has made since announcing her candidacy has been for remarks aimed at Clinton. I have not seen her attack a fellow Republican yet (even though there are plenty in the field begging for it). In fact, if you type "Carly Fiorina attacks" into Google, Google only has one suggestion for the rest of your sentence: "hillary."

In her keynote speech at the Competitive Enterprise Institute's June 11 dinner and reception, Fiorina chose to speak about gender in America, what conservative policies can offer women and how liberal policies hurt women. Her campaign live-tweeted the speech using the hashtag #empoweredwomen.

The speech was full of good quotes, but the one that really sums the matter up was: "The left's view of feminism is not about women. And their policies are not working for women."

Carly Fiorina speaks with a fresher conservative breath than any of the other GOP candidates. She's smart, savvy, successful and poised. And she's the only one in the GOP pack who can talk about gender issues without mansplaining.

This piece has been updated to more accurately reflect Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Julian Castro's Spanish language skills.

Zipperer is assistant professor of political science at Georgia Military College. Follow him on Twitter @eddiezipperer.