Carly Fiorina has experienced a meteoric rise from being a fringe Republican presidential candidate to the number two (or three, depending on the poll) position in the polls following the most recent debate (trailing only Donald Trump).
Fiorina’s appeal, much like that of fellow favorites Trump and Ben Carson, comes in large part from her non-political background. Fiorina has never once held public office of any kind, having only previously staged an unsuccessful campaign in California for US Senate in 2010.
Whereas this once might have been considered an impediment to her electability, it is increasingly something that the electorate claims to want in a candidate.
After all, disrupting the status quo and introducing an outsider into a system dominated by career politicians is a course of action that intuitively seems like a good way to induce change.
While having a prior career in politics is not necessarily a prerequisite to performing well in public office (our earliest presidents, men like Washington, Adams, and Jefferson, essentially learned how to be professional politicians on the fly), there is certainly something to be said in having experience navigating the bureaucracy of Washington, D.C.
Hopefully voters will come to realize they must look beyond the superficial aspects of Fiorina’s candidacy and carefully consider her actual credentials and positions when they choose whether to vote to make her the most powerful woman in the world. And by superficial aspects, I should note that I don’t just mean her status as an “outsider politician” but also the fact that she is a woman.
The Republican Party has had great difficulty in recent years attracting the female vote in presidential elections and part of Fiorina’s popularity almost certainly comes from the idea that choosing a woman as a candidate will be a start to amending this problem.
What’s more, she is clearly more intelligent and capable than past GOP candidates such as Sarah Palin and Michelle Bachmann, giving her legitimate electoral viability in a general election. However, a politician should never be elected on the basis of symbolism alone, and as significant as it would be to finally have a female president, the cons of Fiorina’s actual credentials are enough to disqualify her as a good choice.
Now is not the time or place to argue ideologies. One is either aligned with Fiorina’s beliefs on such issues as gay marriage, global warming and abortion or not and one editorial is not going to change anyone’s opinion on them.
However, these beliefs are standard fare amongst the Republican candidates and even if they are the most important things to you in this election, you would be better off choosing a more qualified candidate. As things stand now, Fiorina has shown nothing to suggest that she is deserving of being elected president.
This is not to say that Fiorina has never been in a position of leadership; she was the CEO of tech giant Hewlet-Packard from 1999 to 2005, and in a world where only 5 percent of Fortune 500 companies boast a woman CEO, this in itself is certainly an achievement.
However, her business track record – the pillar on which she stakes her campaign and legitimacy to run – is nothing short of abysmal, no matter which statistic one chooses to cite. HP’s stock plummeted under Fiorina, dropping 65 percent during her time at the helm. 30,000 jobs were lost and shareholder wealth in 2005 was a mere 52 percent of what it had been six years prior.
Fiorina has bragged before about doubling HP’s revenue, but this was only achieved by her controversial 24.2 billion dollar acquisition of the outdated Compaq Computer company, a hugely detrimental move that did nothing to improve profits and was opposed by virtually all of her shareholders and analysts at the time. To claim that as a career businesswoman Fiorina somehow has better skills in managing money than the others she is running against is a logical fallacy based on her actual fiscal history.
Ultimately, a vote for Fiorina feels like a wish and a prayer, trusting in an inexperienced and under qualified individual solely based on what she believes and how she looks. Voting for any candidate is really only a bet that they will pay off, as we have no way of knowing what the future will bring, but a gambling man would be wise to put his money on a safer choice than Carly Fiorina.