Nikki Haley Is the New Ron DeSantis


Category:  Op/Ed

Via:  hallux  •  10 months ago  •  21 comments

By:   David A. Graham - The Atlantic

Nikki Haley Is the New Ron DeSantis
Which is good news and bad news for her.

S E E D E D   C O N T E N T

This might be Nikki Haley’s moment.

Not her moment to become the Republican presidential front-runner. (Don’t be silly.) Not even her moment to nip at Donald Trump’s heels. But it could be her chance to consolidate the anti-Trump support in the GOP, and to make a solid play for the silver medal and maybe a good speaking slot at the RNC in Milwaukee next summer.

The former South Carolina governor and United Nations ambassador has risen, slightly, in recent polls, and is now third in RealClearPolitics’   average of national polls , after Trump and Ron DeSantis. She is consistently coming in second in polling in the first-in-the-nation primary state of New Hampshire, having pulled ahead of DeSantis there. This week, she picked up the endorsement of former Representative Will Hurd when he dropped out of the Republican race. She’s appearing at two major donor conferences this month. Her boomlet is a long way from the   big candidate bubbles   of the 2012 and 2016 GOP primaries, but it’s the most notable surge in the race right now.

Haley has brought this about in part with strong performances at debates, where she’s managed to come off as an adult (sorry, Vivek), a lively presence (sorry, Mike and Tim), and an actual alternative to Trump without letting that define her (sorry, Chris). But more than anything, she has benefited from the dramatic flameout of DeSantis.

Nearly a year of campaigning has revealed a huge gap between “Ron DeSantis,” the candidate conservative elites thought they were getting when they coalesced behind him last fall, and Ron DeSantis, the actual man Americans have seen on the trail. Influential conservatives imagined a charismatic, crusading figure who could marry the belligerent rhetoric of Trump to a more traditional conservative platform and effective, low-drama governance. Plus he was a winner: Unlike Trump, who led Republicans to defeat or underperformance in 2018, 2020, and 2022, DeSantis had romped in Florida in the 2022 midterms. (Democrats also feared he was a formidable contender.)

This combination enthralled old-school Republicans who had not either surrendered to Trumpism or abandoned the party.   National Review   practically became a DeSantis fanzine. Rupert Murdoch’s influential empire excitedly covered him, with the   New York Post   labeling him “ DeFUTURE .”

Instead, they’ve gotten DeFlation. Just as my colleague Mark Leibovich   predicted last November , the more people get to know DeSantis, the less they like him. He delivers his lines like, well, he’s delivering lines. He seems incapable of talking to people like he’s a human being. His   election-fraud squad   and anti-Disney onslaught petered out. His vaunted campaign meme farm   turns out to have had a thing for Nazi imagery . His flop reboot showed that the only boots that give him any lift are   Cuban heels . Most lethally, from the standpoint of his bandwagon backers, he has failed to come close to challenging Trump’s dominance in the race, which was his whole appeal. (Though some backers   simply refuse to believe it .) Donors have fled. A super PAC backing DeSantis has cut spending and lost staff. Murdoch has   quickly gotten over DeSantis , like   just another romantic partner .

Thus the Haley buzz right now. Hurd’s support won’t do much for Haley on its own—if he had many followers, he wouldn’t be dropping out—but it bespeaks the concern of anti-Trump Republicans that they must consolidate to defeat Trump, and that DeSantis is simply not capable of doing that.

But although it’s true that DeSantis looks like a terrible candidate, his ultimate problem was not that he’s a terrible candidate but rather that GOP primary voters don’t want someone other than Trump. The premise of the Haley boomlet, insofar as it exists, is that Republicans would choose another candidate if only the right one presented him- or herself. But Trump is consistently polling above 50 percent among GOP voters nationally. This isn’t a replay of 2016, where he managed to squeak past a splintered field but never achieved more than plurality support until he’d clinched the nomination.

Trump-chilly Republican elites still haven’t accepted the reality that rank-and-file Republican voters have a different ideology than they do. What’s surprising is that even after failing to stop Trump in 2016 and seven years of eulogies for the Republican establishment, party elites still don’t get that. Speaking to a conference of his former donors yesterday, Mitt Romney said, “I want to put responsibility on your shoulders as the people who are financing campaigns to have some say as to when it’s time for the person you support to say, ‘Okay, I’m getting behind someone else.’”

The donors, who presumably didn’t come into their piles of money by being bad at math, can run the numbers easily enough and see the flaws in this argument: Even if every Republican candidate except Trump dropped out and backed Haley, she’d still be trailing Trump. (That’s obviously not going to happen, especially given how bad the vibes are between Haley and Ramaswamy.) This makes Haley’s rise intellectually interesting, but it also means it will likely just be a footnote to Trump’s renomination.


jrDiscussion - desc
PhD Principal
1  seeder  Hallux    10 months ago

Alas Nikki, you stood too close to Donald and he turned you into lead.

Professor Principal
2  TᵢG    10 months ago

Even though nobody seems to have a chance at the nomination, I much prefer the non-Trump leader be Haley rather than DeSantis.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  TᵢG @2    10 months ago

I consider her the most tolerable of all the Republican possibilities.  I not at all particular about Biden as being America's best choice.  So far, IMO, things look kind of bleak for the near future of the USA.

PhD Principal
2.1.1  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    10 months ago

Our choices come 2025 up here in the Big White are not stellar either. Fortunately you and I do not elect our PMs directly and can concentrate on candidates within our ridings.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
2.1.2  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  Hallux @2.1.1    10 months ago

I wish we could resuscitate Pierre.  I can just imagine his attitude about what is going on in the USA these days.  You know, I suppose, that he despised Nixon.

PhD Principal
2.1.3  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1.2    10 months ago

I would even take Brian Mulroney again.

Professor Principal
2.1.4  TᵢG  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @2.1    10 months ago

Things look very bleak for the presidency and the GOP will remain dysfunctional for years.   It is sickening.

Professor Principal
3  JBB    10 months ago

Ah Nikki, right now she is only about "Half-a-MAGA". But, if Trump picked her for his VP she would easily transmorph into a full blown MAGA, again...


Professor Principal
4  JohnRussell    10 months ago

I think Nikki Haley's most likely outcome is that she will be second in command when the Trumptanic hits the iceberg. 

Professor Quiet
4.1  arkpdx  replied to  JohnRussell @4    10 months ago

She would be head and shoulders better than the " number two" we have now. ( Shoot number two we have now lived up to being number two ). In actual fact she is even better then our current number one who is also a big pile of number two . 

Professor Guide
4.2  GregTx  replied to  JohnRussell @4    10 months ago

So Biden/Harris or Trump/Haley?..

Junior Quiet
4.2.1  afrayedknot  replied to  GregTx @4.2    10 months ago

“So Biden/Harris or Trump/Haley?”

Just as some will never, ever vote for the incumbent, more will never, ever consider anything trump.

A sad state of affairs…it has not just become a ‘lesser of two evils’ conundrum, but a dysfunctional malaise with a lack of vision, a lack of the necessary willingness to compromise, and ultimately a lack of leadership. Local, state and federal. 

This election cycle will only confirm the dysfunction. 

Professor Principal
4.2.2  TᵢG  replied to  GregTx @4.2    10 months ago

In that matchup, it is Biden/Harris (unless there is no realistic chance that Trump/Haley could win).

For two key reasons:

1.  I will never vote for Trump.

2.  If Nikki Haley has the failure of character to run as Trump's V.P. (given all we now know of Trump), she has revealed a negative that overshadows her positives.

Professor Quiet
4.2.3  arkpdx  replied to  TᵢG @4.2.2    10 months ago
1. I will never vote for Trump.

And I will never vote for Biden no matter who runs against him 

Professor Principal
4.2.4  TᵢG  replied to  arkpdx @4.2.3    10 months ago

Yes we know.    I would bet that you would not vote for any D for PotUS no matter who they were.

Buzz of the Orient
Professor Expert
4.2.5  Buzz of the Orient  replied to  GregTx @4.2    10 months ago
"So Biden/Harris or Trump/Haley?".

If I could cast a vote there, it would be neither.  

PhD Principal
4.2.6  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Buzz of the Orient @4.2.5    10 months ago
If I could cast a vote there

Rumor has it that if you are dead you can cast several, if not more, votes.

Professor Participates
4.2.7  Snuffy  replied to  Hallux @4.2.6    10 months ago


PhD Principal
4.2.8  seeder  Hallux  replied to  Snuffy @4.2.7    10 months ago

Great architecture and pizza, what else would you like to know?

Professor Participates
4.2.9  Snuffy  replied to  Hallux @4.2.8    10 months ago

It was more a comment about past political history from Chicago where burial records were combed to create the graveyard voter rolls.  Quite successful as I understand history.  

Chicago has a great many things going for it, but the biggest strike against it in my opinion is the sky dandruff they suffer from between Thanksgiving and May.  Nasty stuff..  That's why I moved to Arizona.  IMO the only good places to see snow is in pictures or the movies.   

Trout Giggles
Professor Principal
4.2.10  Trout Giggles  replied to  Snuffy @4.2.9    10 months ago

sky dandruff

I like that. I hate it, too


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