Why doesn’t South Carolina like Nikki Haley?

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Why doesn’t South Carolina like Nikki Haley?

Opinion piece, Elections 2024

Jill Lawrence

February 4, 2024

Nikki Haley named her 2022 book after the late British Prime Minister Margaret Thatcher’s statement: If you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. She has made a point of projecting that Iron Lady toughness into the 2024 race, from her Reaganesque positions on foreign policy and

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-inch heels she calls ammunition, to her reaction when Donald Trump said that anyone who supported Haley after New Hampshire would be definitively excluded from the MAGA camp.

In that case you can donate here. Let’s go! the former South Carolina governor said on X, and linked to a contribution page. Within 24 hours, $1 million had flowed in.

Sometimes Haley has called me too loud and harsh. Still, I felt for her when the top politicians from her state (the governor, the lieutenant governor, the attorney general, the treasurer, two members of Congress, the speaker of the State House, and even her appointed senator traveled to New Hampshire). .

this last one

month to support and celebrate Trump. She carried the state with ease and is on track for an even bigger victory in the primaries in her home state on February 24.

Why doesn’t South Carolina like Nikki Haley? Or maybe, just not enough?

A humiliating loss in the home state is sometimes the final straw in a nomination race (see: Marco Rubio, Florida, 2016). It can also make the difference between winning or losing the presidency itself (see: Al Gore, Tennessee, 2000).

Gore and his state had drifted apart politically, on guns and many other issues, during his decades in Congress and as vice president. Haley faces more of a Rubio-style Rubicon moment. In South Carolina, she has outpaced Trump by narrowing the margins in every poll.

At the same time, like Rubio, who easily won a third term in the Senate in 2022, Haley is not unpopular in her state. A Winthrop University poll in November found that 59% of registered voters had a very or somewhat positive opinion of her, rising to 71% for Republicans. And while a new Washington Post-Monmouth University poll of potential South Carolina primary voters shows her approval rating slipping now that Trump has attacked her, 54% still say they would be excited or satisfied if she were to become the Republican nominee.

She is a deeply conservative Republican, which has endeared her to South Carolina Republicans, said Scott Huffmon, director of Winthrop University’s Center for Public Opinion & Policy Research. They just want Donald Trump to become president again.

That is a problem. The other is that Haley has endeared herself far more to South Carolina voters than to her colleagues in politics. She was really aiming for popularity among rank-and-file Republicans while simultaneously cultivating discontent among the political elite, Huffmon said.

Haley’s political career began in 2004 when she defeated a 30-year legislative veteran in a state House primary. Six years later, she became governor after defeating a field that included the lieutenant governor, the attorney general and a congresswoman.

Ten years ago, as governor, Haley elected a one-term member of the House of Representatives Tim Scott, a conservative black Republican fill a vacancy in the Senate. He dropped his own presidential bid in November and is now an enthusiastic Trump backer.

You must really hate her, Trump said as Scott smiled behind him on victory night in New Hampshire. I simply


you, Scott replied. He must be quite in love, because just a few days earlier


Scott had claimed that the four-time indicted Trump would restore law and order.

Then there’s Governor. Henry McMaster, another Trump enthusiast and another politician who has a history with Haley. He was the attorney general she defeated in the 2010 gubernatorial primary. Four years later


he was elected lieutenant governor and endorsed Trump early in the 2016 race. In late November of that year, President-elect Trump appointed Haley as his ambassador to the United Nations, allowing McMaster to become governor.

Trump is a vengeful cult leader. I don’t get that angry I’m righthe said in his victory speech after the vote in New Hampshire threatened that if Haley didn’t drop out, there would be an investigation in 15 minutes for little things she doesn’t want to talk about. Scott told CBS News that the race was going to tighten for Trump in South Carolina and I would love for her to join the Trump team and go ahead now and show her support and not wait any longer. But, as Scott also said, she is persistent.

The most amazing thing about the Trump-versus-Haley finale is that while I personally disagree with her on almost everything except supporting Ukraine and removing the Confederate flag from the Capitol, she is a tailor-made candidate created to boost the Republican Party. to the future: the smart, conservative, fifty-year-old daughter of immigrant Indian parents, with a multiracial family and a husband in the National Guard, who sees the world clearly and does not want to hand Ukraine over to Vladimir Putin.

Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis ended his campaign a few days before the New Hampshire primary, saying he supported Trump because we can’t go back to yesterday’s old Republican Guard, a repackaged form of warmed-over corporatism that Nikki Haley represents. But the DeSantis were awake and acting

like like

Disney is not a path to the future, and neither is Trump’s war on truth, justice, and the American way.

Haley is the best option. But her own state will probably finish her off if she doesn’t give in


Mania before that happens.

Jill Lawrence

is an opinion writer and author of The Art of the Political Deal: How Congress Beat the Odds and Broke Through Gridlock.



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