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Why Carly Fiorina failed in Iowa

The Presidential campaign for Carly Fiorina will keep fighting. They’ll move on to New Hampshire. They won’t call it quits just yet despite not breaking the 2% mark in the Iowa caucus. However, this will be more for the sake of establishing her place in the eventual nominee’s cabinet. She will not do well in New Hampshire, either.

What happened? She was polling in the double-digits in Iowa after her first big stage debate performance at the Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley. She was on the radar. She rose quickly. Then, she plummeted and never returned. Iowa was supposed to be her statement, the place where she could prove that regardless of whether it’s a blue state or a red state, it could become a Carly state. She held 138 town halls in Iowa and she seemed to impress people. Unfortunately for her aspirations, she failed to impress them enough.

Part of her problem is that she was third-string outsider (fourth-string if you count Ted Cruz). Donald Trump has the starting roll and Ben Carson is his backup. That means that the anti-establishment voters didn’t really have an opportunity to rally around her for very long. That should have been okay. She should have been able to pivot quickly, but she didn’t. Her messaging became muddled with theoretical talk rather than actual policy proposals and a strange fixation with debating Hillary Clinton. In fact, she said on many occasions during stump speeches, interviews, and debates that America knows they’d love to see Fiorina debate Clinton.

No. No we wouldn’t. Republicans want to see the best nominee debate Clinton. She didn’t make the case for her being the best nominee. That would have required substance since Trump has held the bombast card relentlessly. It would have required substance since Carson was more of a sentimental favorite than she was. It would have required substance since Rubio is more likable, Cruz is more principled, and the moderates are more… moderate.

Carly Fiorina failed to establish a true identity in the race, opting to rail against what Clinton was doing and saying instead of professing what Carly Fiorina would do and say if she were elected President. It failed. Fiorina will pack up her bags after making her pitch to the other candidates with the New Hampshire primary.

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