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Haley's Deadend - It's Time To Unite Behind Trump

She has two options: either suspend her campaign or become another Liz Cheney.

Nikki Haley, Photo credit: Gage Skidmore, via Wikimedia Commons

Speaking in Charleston, South Carolina, at her election night watch party, Nikki Haley, the former governor of the state who lost decisively to Republican front-runner Donald Trump by 20 points, said that she is a woman of her word. 

It's not the word that voters expected her to keep, though. A month ago, in New Hampshire, Haley, who won 43% of the vote, said of her upcoming home state battle in South Carolina:

What I do think I need to do is I need to show that I'm building momentum. I need to show that I'm stronger in South Carolina than in New Hampshire. Does that have to be a win? I don't think that necessarily has to be a win.

We predicted then that should Haley perform worse in South Carolina - which she did, considering that she couldn't even meet the 40% threshold, coming in at only 39% of the vote with 89% of votes counted - she would never acknowledge defeat and probably spin away her loss.

And spin is exactly what she did as she addressed her supporters:

That's about what we got in New Hampshire, too. I am an accountant, I know 40% is not 50%. But I also know 40% is not some tiny group. There are huge numbers of voters in our Republican primaries who are saying they want an alternative. I said earlier this week that no matter what happens in South Carolina, I would continue to run for president. I am a woman of my word.

If Haley is a woman of her word, she should quit the race. By her own statement a month ago, she has shown that she is not stronger in South Carolina than in New Hampshire. Deadends are hard in politics, but that's precisely where she is now. 

It's time for Haley to be gracious, concede, and unite behind Trump to beat Biden. To that end, she smartly said a few words from which she could quickly pivot without hurting her brand or political future. It could be the mantra of a robust nationwide GOP campaign unified behind Trump: "America will fail if we make the wrong choices. We need to beat Joe Biden in November."

Haley has burned too many bridges to contribute to Trump's reelection efforts, but a decision to end her campaign immediately could put her in good stead to earn the Secretary of State spot in Trump's second term. Politically, it would be wise for Trump not to have her be a thorn in his side in America, appearing on TV  and constantly second-guessing Trump's every statement or policy action.   

As a former UN ambassador, Haley could be the moderating voice abroad to calm nervous foreign capitals who are anxious that Trump’s return could devastate existing alliances. A Haley appointment to run Foggy Bottom would also neutralize Trump's critics who charge that Trump is too pally with Russia. Haley has been a staunch defender of Ukraine, belongs to the Military Industrial Complex wing of the GOP, and could serve as an olive branch extender to the America First agenda. A second Trump administration would pursue an America First agenda anyway, so there's little risk of Haley upsetting Trump's priorities. 

Haley's insistence that she is a compelling candidate for the GOP nomination because she won 40% of the vote is downright dishonest. In a two-person race, her support in both New Hampshire and South Carolina came from party crossovers. Her campaign, powered by TDS supporters, the liberal media, and Democratic donors, tried to replicate Liz Cheney's strategy (when Cheney begged Democrats to vote for her in the Wyoming congressional primary in 2022). 

South Carolina has an open primary, so Democrats are free to vote in the Republican primary as long as they don't also vote in the Democratic primary. Biden was always expected to win the SC primary, given how the Palmetto State put him on the road to the White House in 2020. Indeed, on February 4, Biden won more than 96% of the South Carolina primary vote. Many Democrats never participated in their primary, holding their choices to vote for Haley to hurt Trump. These voters would never cast a ballot for Haley in the general election. 

A more accurate evaluation of Haley's standing came from the results of the Nevada primary held on February 6, which were not binding regarding awarding delegates. Nevada had switched to a caucus format to award delegates, which Trump won handily. Trump wasn't on the primary ballot (candidates could only be on one of them), which meant there were only two choices for voters: Haley and "none of these candidates." Even then, Haley only captured 32% of the vote. It was an electoral disaster when "none" claimed nearly 62%.

So, RINO Nikki Haley has lost four elections in a row - Iowa, New Hampshire, Nevada, and now her home state of South Carolina. In Iowa, Haley came in third, behind Trump and Ron DeSantis. There's no political path forward for Haley in 2024 without a legal or medical Trump disqualification.  

So, it is time for Haley to quit and unite behind Trump. Any other decision will put an end to her political career. If she has any doubts, she should talk to Liz Cheney.

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