Tucker Scott ‘26
This Valentine’s Day, the former South Carolina governor and ambassador to the U.N., Nikki Haley, announced that she will be attempting to gain the Republican nomination for presidency. Now, my immediate reaction to this is: who cares? You can like her policies, but her chances for actually becoming the nominee are pretty much zero.
According to a Morning Consult poll released the day after she announced, Haley is currently sitting at around 3 percent support. That is not enough to be considered a major power. In fact, there is a pretty good chance that she will inadvertently allow Trump to receive the nomination by stealing just enough votes from a potential DeSantis presidency attempt– just like Chris Christie did when he beat Marco Rubio in New Hampshire, allowing then candidate Donald Trump to clinch the nomination.
So, if she has no path to the presidency, why is she declaring this early? Don’t forget she is the second candidate in the pool, following former President Trump, who declared immediately after the 2022 midterms. Now, perhaps she thinks she can jump in and pick up the support Trump lost and become the main anti-Trump candidate before DeSantis (or anyone else) has a chance to jump in the pool. The logic behind this being that she sees that Trump is losing support and ground within some of the first primary states, as well as within the Republican party as a whole. She also sees that a majority of the Republican party wants a different candidate than Trump. So she thinks by being the first in the pool, all the support will coalesce around her and she can gain some serious momentum before any of the other major candidates declare. Or, maybe it is because she wants to jump in early to pick up some money from early donors before donors have other options. The logic behind this being again to consolidate some of the early money and support before donors are split between 10 different candidates to support.
However, the biggest weakness of her campaign is something she can not control, which is the fact she is seen as a foreign policy candidate. Americans typically don’t elect candidates based on their foreign policy alone– we care much more about the candidate’s domestic policies. Nearly every president since WWII has run on their domestic policy and/or ending a war. Trump ran on immigration, Obama ran on the economy, Bush ran on healthcare, etc. The only exception to this was, of course, Bush in 2004 because of the Iraq War and 9/11, but those were extraneous circumstances. The truth of the matter is a candidate’s foreign policy is much less important to Americans than the candidate’s domestic policy, so candidates that are seen as foreign policy candidates, like Mike Pompeo and Nikki Haley, are at a huge disadvantage in this race.
Most likely I will see Nikki Haley hanging on until around the first few elections, and then she will drop out and bargain her 6 – 7 percent of the vote to someone like DeSantis to get a position in the cabinet, or be the VP pick. But that is just my prediction, for whatever that is worth. Regardless, a second candidate has entered the GOP 2024 Republican primary and the race is now on.
Featured image courtesy of Politico
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