Ever since a strong performance on the undercard of the first debate that put her on the main stage for the second debate, businesswoman Carly Fiorina has been in the national spotlight as one of three viable outsider candidates for the GOP Presidential nomination. The problem is that she’s third out of the three, fading fast, and in desperate need of a change in strategy.
Her campaign has been based upon being a great speaker, appealing to the female vote, and positioning herself as the person who is best equipped to beat Hillary Clinton in the general election. This was enough to get the attention of Republican voters, but it didn’t sustain her and her poll numbers have dropped considerably. She will not be able to take back the voters wanting an outsider because those supporting businessman Donald Trump and former neurosurgeon Ben Carson have already considered her and passed. Either she can wait around and hope that one or both of them stumble tremendously or she has to switch gears.
That gear shift should be to position herself as the right moderate for the job. In that particular lane, she would face Senator Marco Rubio, former Governor Jeb Bush, Governor John Kasich, and Governor Chris Christie. Combined, the four moderate candidates do not have the same support as Trump. This is where Fiorina can find the easiest path to campaign resurrection.
The outsider card didn’t play, so she’ll have to pull out the pragmatic conservative card. She has the history to prove it; many of her previous political positions were moderate at best. She can still remain conservative on Syria, Planned Parenthood, gun owner rights, and a handful of other issues, but when it comes to immigration, she can be the moderate choice who focuses on border security without deportation and a realistic (albeit mushy) path to legalization (not citizenship) that would replace President Obama’s executive order.
Why would she go down this road? Beyond the obvious fact that what she’s currently doing isn’t working, it will allow her to go after the weaker candidates and still have a path to the nomination. Rubio is coming across as untrustworthy. Bush is another Bush. Kasich is an out-of-touch whiner. Christie missed his boat in 2012. That means that Fiorina can stop trying to be the outsider amongst other outsiders and focus on being the outsider with a realistic plan to win the election and fix the country.
She would have to shift her positioning away from being the first female President and turn the conversation to being the first tech-savvy President. This is the path she should have taken all along whether she was running as an outsider or shifting to run as the best bet for moderates. She should be positioning herself to be the right choice in a world where China and North Korea are hacking us, the Islamic State is beating us on social media, and Silicon Valley is leading the way to America’s real future. She is uniquely positioned for this type of campaign and it makes total sense to a lot of Americans.
She has two options: hope and pray for Trump and Carson to fall into a crevice or switch gears quickly with messaging that appeals to the wide array of voters that she could be reaching. The second option would require an immediate shift, but it’s not as impossible as it may sound.
There is a way to change the conversation and make her the most talked-about candidate in the field. The path to do that is with bold ideas that take advantage of her unique experiences. There is so much more to it, but it’s not for public consumption. Her campaign would need to contact me directly.