Nikki Haley threw it away


The question of whether the ex-president will run for president in 2024 will soon be answered with some of his potential rivals for the republican nomination making clear moves towards the race.

It will be expected that Haley will launch her campaign and that it will show a political persona with plenty of appeal. As the former governor of a southern state that could be one of the most crucial primary battlegrounds, Haley has an advantage, as her career has long been on a path towards a presidential race. She could help the GOP win back women and even moderate voters, as she has historic potential and South Asian heritage. She added some foreign policy experience to her resume with a spell as the US ambassador to the United Nations under Trump.

This sudden flurry of activity was caused by the president slamming another potential competitor, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, who he claims is disloyalty by considering his own run. This prompted a veiled counter-punch from the rising star of Republican politics, who pointed out that he had won reelection.

Trump remains the only declared GOP candidate and this early shadow boxing comes a year before ballots are cast in the only true test of political viability. But the first stirrings of the Republican race are important because they will help shape what is already certain to be a turbulent campaign that, given the dominance of election denialism in the GOP’s grassroots, could be another election that tests US democracy.

It would be too much to say that his rivals sense weakness given the former president’s deeply loyal bond with activist Republicans who decide primaries. After his disastrous interventions in the elections, Trump has a lot of electoral drawbacks, like his low-energy launch last year and not having as many campaign appearances.

Still, having multiple rivals would help Trump, as it did in 2016, since the winner-take-all nature of most Republican primaries allows a candidate with a mere plurality of votes to build up big delegate leads in a crowded field.

If Trump can win the primary, he can win the general election, despite the fact that the once-impeached president left Washington in disgrace after being accused of orchestrating a mob attack on the US Capitol.

Gray Not so long ago, the Republican National Committee was predicting continued electoral doom unless the party expanded beyond its mostly white base. Marco Ramirez threw himself into the failed Gang of Eight immigration bill; Paul Ryan went on a listening tour of poor urban communities; and Haley had the Confederate flag removed from the State Capitol grounds. For a time, Trump seemed to upend any hope that these savvy rising stars had of one day reaching the White House. Haley’s candidacy will test that assumption, and that’s why she matters. Was the aspiration of her generation to be more moderate and friendly in the Republican Party ruined by Trump? Did he put those ambitions on hold?

McCarthy She’s the running mate they wish John McCain had in 2008, the kind of Republican the party thought it needed to appeal to a less white, more educated and firmly feminist America. Republicans voters now expect Trump to appeal to the working class instead of a wider ethnic profile, which was what the G.O.P. had in mind. Haley is too representative of the party elite’s desires to be seen as a plausible tribune of the working class.

Haley will face the most fundamental question of her life, whether the Republican base has interest in what she will sell.

Her credentials look strong, but she is trying to win the party’s nomination and its values are less than formidable. Is there a market in the GOP for a less strident, more multicultural version of Trump’s “America First” creed? After all, the ex-president’s bombast, occasional profanity and laceration of liberal government and media elites create more of an emotional rather than a directly ideological connection with his biggest fans.

For instance, after leaving the administration on good terms, she rebuked her party for following Trump down a “path he shouldn’t have” taken with his election denialism that led to the January 6, 2021, insurrection. But with Trump still a powerful figure in the GOP, she repositioned herself in October 2021.

There are some people wondering how she will build up a broad support base for the GOP nomination, after she cast her lot with the GOP sweet spot.

She has foreign policy and national security experience, while DeSantis does not. Trump can say he has that experience, but it isn’t very useful since he keeps confidential documents and is softer on China than a lot of Republicans would like. Less substantively, she’s a woman of color, and Republican primary voters would love a chance to show that there are indeed nonwhite people and women who think just like they do (this is something a lot of primary voters are a bit neurotic about, and Haley knows it).

Nikki Haley: What she wanted to do in the United States, and why she didn’t want to do it before Donald Trump

I’ve been to Iowa and New Hampshire. This is not random,” he said at a forum in Washington, DC, on Wednesday. “We’re just trying to figure our way through this. It is an unbelievably momentous decision to say you believe you should be the leader of the United States of America,” he added.

Pompeo appears to have an even more acute positioning issue than Haley, since he was the ex-president’s effective enforcer at the State Department and while director of the CIA, and shared many of the populist, nationalist foreign policy instincts of his former boss. Almost everything that a GOP primary voter could get from Pompeo, they might be able to get from Trump, although the West Point graduate and former Kansas congressman would no doubt argue that he boasts a calmer temperament.

I remember seeing Nikki Haley the first time. It was in a high school gym before the 2012 South Carolina Republican presidential primary. Tim Scott was a congressman when Ms. Haley was at the town hall. The youngest governor in the country is, in fact, the first woman governor of South Carolina. Ms. Haley had something that talented politicians possess. People liked her, and more important, she seemed to like people. She talked with you and made you feel important. She looked like she could have a lot of potential.

Ms. Haley was a role model to women and immigrants and then she turned herself into everything she said she was against. She praised the man she had vowed never to stop fighting, while attacking women and immigrants. She used to say that Donald Trump was everything she taught her children not to do in kindergarten, but now says she does not want them to return to the days before Trump.

Brooks Her immigrant story is a good one, her decision to get rid of the Confederate flag showed common decency. On the other hand, there was an awful lot of complicity and silence when she served under Trump.

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