What is Nikki Haley really doing?

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Written By Drew Gomez






Nikki Haley, the former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations and governor of South Carolina, is running for president in 2024 as a Republican. But what is she really doing? Is she trying to challenge Donald Trump, the incumbent and overwhelming favorite of the party base? Or is she positioning herself for a future run, perhaps in 2028 or beyond?

Haley’s campaign strategy

Haley announced her campaign for president in February 2023, after months of speculation and preparation. She has positioned herself as a moderate alternative to Trump, who she has criticized for his handling of the coronavirus pandemic, the economy, foreign policy, and the January 6 insurrection at the Capitol. She has also tried to appeal to women, minorities, and young voters, who have traditionally favored the Democratic Party.

Haley’s campaign slogan is “America First, But Not Alone”, which reflects her belief that the U.S. should lead the world with its allies, not alienate them. She has also emphasized her experience as a governor and a diplomat, as well as her immigrant background and her faith as a Christian convert from Sikhism.

Haley has not won any of the first nine nominating contests, but she has managed to secure her first victory in the Washington, D.C. Republican primary on Sunday, March 3, 2024. She won 62.9% of the vote, versus 33.2% captured by Trump. She also picked up 19 delegates, a small portion of the 1,215 delegates needed to clinch the nomination.

Haley has said she will remain in the race at least through Super Tuesday, when 15 states will hold primaries on March 5, 2024. She has campaigned in several of those states, including North Carolina, Virginia, Texas, and California. She has also received endorsements from some prominent Republicans, such as former Florida governor Jeb Bush, former Arizona senator Jeff Flake, and former New Jersey governor Christine Todd Whitman.

Haley’s chances and challenges

Haley faces near-impossible odds in her quest to win the Republican nomination. Trump has won the first eight nominating contests by significant margins, and he is expected to win almost all upcoming contests. He has also maintained a loyal and enthusiastic base of supporters, who view him as the only true defender of their values and interests. Trump has also attacked Haley as a “disloyal” and “weak” opponent, who betrayed him by resigning from his administration and criticizing his actions.

Haley has also struggled to gain traction among the broader Republican electorate, who are largely satisfied with Trump’s performance and policies. According to a recent Gallup poll, Trump has an 89% approval rating among Republicans, and a 74% favorability rating among all Americans. Haley, on the other hand, has a 39% favorability rating among Republicans, and a 28% favorability rating among all Americans.

Haley has also faced criticism from some conservatives, who question her commitment to their causes and principles. Some have accused her of being too soft on immigration, trade, and China, and of being too supportive of the United Nations, NATO, and the Iran nuclear deal. Some have also doubted her authenticity and sincerity, pointing to her flip-flops on issues such as the Confederate flag, Trump’s impeachment, and the 2020 election results.

Haley’s goals and motives

Haley has not given a clear answer to the question of what she is really doing by running for president. She has said that she is running to offer a different vision and direction for the country, and to restore its leadership and reputation in the world. She has also said that she is running to give voice to the millions of Americans who feel left behind and ignored by the political establishment.

However, some political analysts and observers have speculated that Haley has ulterior motives for her campaign. Some have suggested that she is running to raise her profile and reputation, and to position herself for a future run, perhaps in 2028 or beyond.

Some have also suggested that she is running to audition for a vice-presidential or cabinet role, either in a Trump or a Biden administration. Some have even suggested that she is running to sabotage Trump’s chances of winning a second term, by siphoning off some of his votes or by exposing his weaknesses and vulnerabilities.

Whatever Haley’s real intentions are, they are likely to remain a mystery until the end of the primary season, or until she drops out of the race. Until then, she will continue to face the daunting task of challenging Trump, the most dominant and divisive figure in American politics. Whether she succeeds or fails, she will have an impact on the future of the Republican Party and the country.

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